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King Kamehameha Day

Updated on March 31, 2015
Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

June is from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, but is currently residing in New York. She loves to cook naturally with plants from her garden.

Oil painting by James Gay Sawkins from the Hawaii State Archives
Oil painting by James Gay Sawkins from the Hawaii State Archives | Source

June 11th is King Kamehameha Day in Hawaii

King Kamehameha Day is celebrated every year in Hawaii on all of the inhabited islands to commemorate King Kamehameha I, the greatest warrior king of Hawaii.

King Kamehameha I is known in Hawaii for uniting the Hawaiian Islands under one kingdom and one rule.

Every year the holiday is celebrated with an abundance of flowers, parades, dancing, singing, eating and drinking.

The party atmosphere can be found on every island, in every city and in just about every major town. It is a day of celebration that we from Hawaii are proud to call our own.

King Kamehameha Staue in Front of Ali'iolani Hale in Honolulu

"Statue of King Kamehameha I, standing in Front of Ali'iolani Hale in Honolulu
"Statue of King Kamehameha I, standing in Front of Ali'iolani Hale in Honolulu | Source

The celebration of King Kamehameha Day in Hawaii begins in the morning with the opening ceremony of draping the statues with long lengths of flower leis. There are 4 statues of the past ruling Monarch of the Hawaiian islands.

The original statue resides in the North Kohala area of the Big Island of Hawaii in a small town named Kapa`au. Kapa`au is a short distance from the birthplace of King Kamehameha the Great at Kokoiki. The second statue is in Hilo, the capital of the Big Island.

The third statue is the one most people are familiar with on the island of Oahu in Honolulu. This King Kamehameha statue resides in front of the Ali'iolani Hale, formerly the seat of government for the Kingdom of Hawai`i. It is currently being used as the Hawai`i State Supreme Court, and is located across the street from Iolani Palace.

The last statue was erected in Washington, DC. at National Statuary Hall. It is the only statue of King Kamehameha made with gold. Every year, on Kamehameha Day, there is a ceremony in Washington in honor of the King. The statue is draped with flower leis from Hawai'i and hula dancers put on a Hawai'ian show.

King Kamehameha Statue in Washington, DC. at National Statuary Hall

King Kamehameha Statue in Washington, DC. at National Statuary Hall
King Kamehameha Statue in Washington, DC. at National Statuary Hall | Source

The Story of Kamehameha the Great

Decorating KIng Kam Statue with Leis on King Kamehameha Day
Decorating KIng Kam Statue with Leis on King Kamehameha Day

Decorating KIng Kam Statue with Leis on King Kamehameha Day

The weekend long celebration for Kamehameha Day begins with the Lei Draping ceremony. Every island in the Hawai'ian chain holds their own celebrations, however, only two islands have the Lei Draping ceremony.

A Lei Draping ceremony is held on both islands (Oahu and the Big Island of Hawai'i) for both island statues. There are many volunteers that participate in picking, stringing and draping the 13 feet long leis. Piling the leis on the statues is a Hawaiian tradition.

Information on scheduled activities planned on all the islands for this years 2015 celebration, please go to Hawaii.gov

King Kamehameha I - Honolulu

Statue of King Kamehameha I in Honolulu, Draped in Leis
Statue of King Kamehameha I in Honolulu, Draped in Leis | Source

Kapa`au King Kamehameha Statue Draped in Leis

Source

The Kamehameha Day Celebration Kicks Off with a Parade

King Kam Day Parade

The Hawaiian Airlines float at the King Kamehameha Day Parade in Honolulu
The Hawaiian Airlines float at the King Kamehameha Day Parade in Honolulu | Source

Every island has a parade to start of the King Kamehameha Holiday Celebration.

One of the wonderful things about a Hawai`ian style parade are the floats. All of the float material must be made of all natural floral materials, similar to the Rose Bowl Parade in California.

The floats must be made out entirely of plants, flowers, seeds and nuts. It can sometimes take weeks to make these floats and I have personally stayed up all night the night before the parade to work on a parade float for the following day.

Working until the wee hours of the morning putting flowers and ti leaves into chicken wire on the floats is not an easy job, but the results are gorgeous and well worth the effort! This is an island tradition that we love and take great pride in.

An Example of a Flower and Hawaiian Ti Leaf Parade Float - Made by the Ko'oauloa Hawaiian Civic Club

"Ko'oauloa Hawaiian Civic Club Flower and Ti Leaf Parade Float
"Ko'oauloa Hawaiian Civic Club Flower and Ti Leaf Parade Float | Source

The flowers used on this float are red ginger, anthurium, heliconia and proteus. There are also several varieties of fern and two species of ti leaf, both the red and green.

This King Kamehameha Day float was also entered in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA
This King Kamehameha Day float was also entered in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA | Source

King Kamehameha's Royal Court

Each Parade Begins with a Reenactment of the Royal Court

King Kamehamehas Royal Court - Kamehameha Day
King Kamehamehas Royal Court - Kamehameha Day | Source

Following the King's Royal Court are the pa`u riders on horseback. The pa`u riders are the princesses representing each island along with their attendants. Each island princess and her attendants are dresses in the colors represent their island and are wearing the flowers representing their respective islands as well.

Uncovering Pa'u ~ An Introduction from Maui

Explaining pa`u riders history and the work involved with preparing for Hawaiian parades such as the Kamehameha Day Parade.

This is really an excellent educational video showing how the pa`us are wrapped, the creation of the leis and lei po'os and so much more. It is well worth the time to watch.

Pa'u Riders Prepare for King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade

Island of Hawai`i - Pa`u Princess, Attendants and Out Riders

Honolulu Parade Pa`u Rider - The Big Island of Hawai`i - The Flower Representing the Island of Hawai`i is the Lehua Blossom from the Ohia Tree

Aileen Kiesel, serving as princess of the island of Hawaii in Honolulu's King Kam Parade
Aileen Kiesel, serving as princess of the island of Hawaii in Honolulu's King Kam Parade | Source

This is the Princess representing the Big Island of Hawai`i in a Honolulu, Oahu King Kamehameha Day Parade.

Island of Hawaii Pa`u Rider - Honolulu King Kamehameha Day Parade

Pau Rider Representing Island of Hawaii in Honolulu's King Kam Parade
Pau Rider Representing Island of Hawaii in Honolulu's King Kam Parade | Source

Oahu Parade - Big Island of Hawaii Pa`u Out Rider

Oahu King Kam Parade - Big Island-Hawaii Pa`u Out Rider
Oahu King Kam Parade - Big Island-Hawaii Pa`u Out Rider | Source

Island of Oahu - Pa`u Princess, Attendants and Out Riders

Pa'u Out Rider Representing Oahu - Honolulu, Oahu King Kamehameha Parade

Oahu King Kam Parade - Pau Out Rider Attendant
Oahu King Kam Parade - Pau Out Rider Attendant | Source

Honolulu Parade Pa`u Princess Rider - The Island of Oahu - The Flower Representing the Island of Oahu is the Pua `ilima

Pau Rider Representing Island of Oahu in Honolulu's King Kam Parade
Pau Rider Representing Island of Oahu in Honolulu's King Kam Parade | Source

This is the Pa'u Princess representing the Island of O'ahu in a Honolulu King Kamehameha Day Parade.

Pa'u Rider Attendant Representing Oahu

Oahu King Kam Parade - Pau Rider Attendant
Oahu King Kam Parade - Pau Rider Attendant | Source

Pa'u Rider Attendant and Out Rider for Oahu - Honolulu/Waikiki King Kam Parade

Oahu Pa'u Princess and Outrider Kamehameha Parade in Honolulu/Waikiki King Kamehameha Day Parade
Oahu Pa'u Princess and Outrider Kamehameha Parade in Honolulu/Waikiki King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Kailua-Kona Parade - Island of Oahu Pa`u Princess and Riders - Kailua-Kona, Big Island King Kamehameha Day Parade

Pau Rider Representing Island of Oahu in Kona's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pau Rider Representing Island of Oahu in Kona's King Kamehameha Day Parade

Island of Maui - Pa`u Princess and Attendants

Honolulu King Kam Parade - Pa`u Rider - The Island of Maui Princess - The Flower Representing the Island of Maui is the Pua `lokelani (Rose)

Pau Rider Representing Island of Maui in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pau Rider Representing Island of Maui in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Honolulu King Kam Parade - Pa`u Rider - The Island of Maui

Pau Rider Representing Island of Maui in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pau Rider Representing Island of Maui in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Maui Pau Attendant Rider in Honolulu King Kamehameha Day Parade

Maui Pau Attendant Rider in Honolulu King Kamehameha Day Parade
Maui Pau Attendant Rider in Honolulu King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Honolulu Parade - Maui Pa`u Out Riders

Maui Pa`u Out Riders
Maui Pa`u Out Riders | Source

Island of Moloka`i - Pa`u Princess, Attendants and Out Riders

Honolulu King Kam Parade - Pa`u Rider - The Island of Moloka'i Princess - The Flower Representing the Island of Moloka'i is the Pua Kukui (Candlenut)

Pau Rider Representing Island of Moloka'i in Honolulu's King Kam Parade
Pau Rider Representing Island of Moloka'i in Honolulu's King Kam Parade | Source

Pau Attendant Representing Island of Moloka'i - Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade

Pau Attendant Representing Island of Molokai in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pau Attendant Representing Island of Molokai in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Kailua-Kona's Pau Attendant Riders in King Kamehameha Day Parade - Representing Island of Molokai

Moloka'i Pa'u Attendant Riders in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Moloka'i Pa'u Attendant Riders in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade

Pa'u Out Rider Representing the Isalnd of Moloka'i

Source

Island of Kaua`i - Pa`u Princess, Attendants and Out Riders

Kaua'i's King Kamehameha Day Parade - Pa`u Rider - The Island of Kaua'i Princess - The Flower Representing the Island of Moloka'i is the Pua Mokihana

Pau Princess Rider Representing Island of Kauai in Kauai's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pau Princess Rider Representing Island of Kauai in Kauai's King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

King Kamehameha Day Parade - Pa`u Rider - The Island of Kaua`i Princess

Pau Rider Representing Island of Kauai in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pau Rider Representing Island of Kauai in Honolulu's King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Pa'u Attendant Rider Representing the Island of Kaua'i in King Kamehameha Day Parade

Pa'u Attendant  Rider Representing Island of Kauai in King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pa'u Attendant Rider Representing Island of Kauai in King Kamehameha Day Parade

Pa`u Out Rider Representing the Island of Kaua'i

Pa`u Out Rider Representing the Island of Kaua'i
Pa`u Out Rider Representing the Island of Kaua'i | Source

Island of Ni'ihau - Pa`u Princess, Attendants and Out Riders

The Island of Niihau Pa`u Princess Wearing the Leis of Rare Niihau - Kahelelani Seashells

Pau Princess  Pau Rider Representing Island of Niihau in Kauai's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Pau Princess Pau Rider Representing Island of Niihau in Kauai's King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade - Niihau Pau Rider Attendant

Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade - Niihau Pau Rider Attendant
Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade - Niihau Pau Rider Attendant | Source

Pa'u Out Rider Representing the Island of Ni'ihau

Pa'u Out Rider Representing the Island of Ni'ihau at the Kohala King Kam Parade
Pa'u Out Rider Representing the Island of Ni'ihau at the Kohala King Kam Parade | Source

Island of Lana'i - Pa`u Princess, Attendants and Out Riders

Honolulu King Kam Parade - Pa`u Rider - The Island of Lana'i Princess - The Flower Representing the Island of Lana'i is the Kauna`oa

Lanai Pau Princess Representing Island of Lanai in Waikiki Parade
Lanai Pau Princess Representing Island of Lanai in Waikiki Parade | Source

Kohala's King Kamehameha Day Parade - Princess from Lana'i

Island of Lanai Princess Shelby "Keahi" Fernandez Representing Lanai in King Kam Parade
Island of Lanai Princess Shelby "Keahi" Fernandez Representing Lanai in King Kam Parade | Source

Kailua-Kona King Kamehameha Day Parade

Pau Princess Rider from Kona in King Kam Parade
Pau Princess Rider from Kona in King Kam Parade | Source

Island of Kahoolawe - Pa`u Princess, Attendants and Out Riders

Kailua-Kona's King Kam Day Parade - Pa`u Rider - The Island of Kaho'olawe Princess - Represented by Leis of Hinahina - Spanish Moss

Kaho'olawe Princess Pau Rider Representing Island of Lanai in Kona's King Kamehameha Day Parade
Kaho'olawe Princess Pau Rider Representing Island of Lanai in Kona's King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Island of Kaho'olawe Pa`u Rider Attendants - Kailua-Kona, Hawaii King Kamehameha Day Parade

Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade - Kahoolawe Pa`u Rider Attendants
Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade - Kahoolawe Pa`u Rider Attendants | Source

Have You Ever Been to Hawaii?

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Highlights of Past Honolulu - Waikiki King Kamehameha Day Parades

Kamehameha School Marching Band - Honolulu/Waikiki King Kam Day Parade

Flower Float with the Hawaiian Flag - King Kam Parade Honolulu/Waikiki

Flower Float with the Hawaiian Flag - King Kam Parade Honolulu/Waikiki
Flower Float with the Hawaiian Flag - King Kam Parade Honolulu/Waikiki | Source

King's Royal Guard Float - Honolulu/Waikiki King Kamehameha Day Parade

King's Royal Guard Float in Honolulu/Waikiki King Kamehameha Day Parade
King's Royal Guard Float in Honolulu/Waikiki King Kamehameha Day Parade | Source

Honolulu, Hawaii King Kamehameha Day Parade - Island of Oahu - June 12 2011

King Kamehameha Day Parade 200th Anniversary of Kingdom of Hawaii - June 11 2010 - Honolulu

Kamehameha Day Parade 2014

Highlights of Past Kailua-Kona King Kamehameha Day Parades

Royal Order of Kamehameha - King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona

Royal Order of Kamehameha in King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona
Royal Order of Kamehameha in King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona | Source

Daughters of Hawaii - Riding their Horses in the King Kamehameha Day Parade

Daughters of Hawaii Riding their Horses in King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona
Daughters of Hawaii Riding their Horses in King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona | Source

Parade Carriage in Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade

Daughters of Hawai'i Parade Carriage in Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade
Daughters of Hawai'i Parade Carriage in Kailua-Kona King Kam Parade | Source

Pony Pooper Scooper King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona - Festive Way to Keep the Streets Clean from the Ponies

Pony Pooper Scooper King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona
Pony Pooper Scooper King Kamehameha Parade in Kailua-Kona | Source

King Kamehameha Day Parade in Kailua-Kona 2013

Highlights of the Kapa'au King Kamehameha Day Parades

Island of Molokini Pa`u Princess - Kapa`au King Kamehameha Day Parade - Home of the King

Molokini Pa'u Princess - King Kamehameha Day Parade in Kapa`au
Molokini Pa'u Princess - King Kamehameha Day Parade in Kapa`au | Source

This is the first time I have ever seen Molokini Island represented. Molokini is a tiny crescent shaped uninhabited island in the Hawaiian Island chain. It does not have a color or a flower.

Kapa`au, Kohala King Kamehameha Day Parade - Big Island of Hawaii

Kamehameha Day Parade Kapa'au North Kohala

Menehues at Work - Pony Pooper Scooper from Kaua'i

Menehune at Work - Pony Pooper Scooper - King Kamehameha Day Parade from Kaua'i. Keeping Hawaii Clean!
Menehune at Work - Pony Pooper Scooper - King Kamehameha Day Parade from Kaua'i. Keeping Hawaii Clean! | Source

What Do You Think About Our Hawaiian Holiday? - Leave a Comment and Let Us Know You Where Here

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    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile imageAUTHOR

      KonaGirl 

      7 years ago from New York

      @Charmcrazey: Mahalo nui loa for stopping by.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 

      7 years ago

      This is a majestic lens and a fitting tribute to King Kamehameha

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Gorgeous pictures and flowers too. You live in a paradise. Happy Kamehameha Day to all and to all a good night.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      7 years ago

      Hubba Hubba!! Happy Kamehameha Day ... better late than never I always say!

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