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Hawaii Local Festivities

Updated on November 23, 2016
Hawaii whale watching
Hawaii whale watching | Source

Hawaii has idyllic weather much of the year. It is wise to be aware of the month by month events that take place in the islands so you can plan accordingly.

January is typically Hawaii’s wettest month. This is also when snowbirds escape winter storms elsewhere and make their way to the Hawaiian Islands. I guess they enjoy the warm rain rather than the cold snow.


The third Monday of January is Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday and is a particularly busy time. Then there is the Chinese New Year. This is different every year, but depends on the second new moon after the winter solstice, usually between mid-January and mid-February. There are lion dances, street fairs and parades. The biggest Chinese New Year celebration is in Honolulu, but there are also festivities in Lahaina, Maui and Hilo on the Big Island.

February is a good time for whale watching. A whole event takes place in Maui organized by the Pacific Whale Foundation with live music, crafts and food booths http://www.pacificwhale.org/

Waimea Town on Kauai hosts more than 10,000 folks for the island’s biggest festival. The celebration includes canoe and foot races, a rodeo (yes, Hawaii has cowboys called paniolo), ukulele and lei contests and much more.

Hawaiian Paniolo (cowboys)
Hawaiian Paniolo (cowboys) | Source
Lei Day in May
Lei Day in May | Source

If you are into slack key guitar, you won’t want to miss the Waimea Ukulele and Slack Key Concert on the Big Island in mid-February.

In March, all islands in Hawaii honor the birthday of Prince Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, the man who would have been King if Queen Lili’uokalani had not been overthrown by the USA. It is a public holiday for most. Most students have a two week break from school around Easter and mid-March the Honolulu Festival celebrates the mixture of cultures in Hawaii.

The peak tourist season ends in April. The Big Island holds the Merrie Monarch Festival, the best time for hula photographers. A week-long celebration attracts hula competitors from around the world to Hawaii.

May is typically sunny and cloudless and hotels sell out for the Memorial Day holiday so plan ahead. Lei Day is in May and there is a Lei queen in Waikiki’s Kap’iolani Park. There are lei-making competitions on Kaua’i and Lihu’e with lei-making demonstrations an hula dancing galore.

June brings warm, dry weather and King Kamehameha Day on the 11th. The King’s statue is draped with leis in downtown Honolulu after which a parade and live music fills the streets. A hula competition is one of the years’ largest. West Maui sets Hawaii’s best chefs against each other, in the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival in late June.

As temperatures rise and school vacations begins, July Fourth celebrations begin as well as a pineapple festival in Lana’i, and Plantation Days in Kauai. The beaches in Hawaii are usually full in August as hot sunny weather abounds.

Trade winds start to blow in September and crowds start to disseminate as students go back to school. The Aloha Festivals began in 1946. It is Hawaii’s premier cultural festival. Check out the lastest dates at http://alohafestivals.com/pages/events/oahu.html

The slowest month for Hawaii tourism is usually October. It can still be warm and sunny. The Ironman Triathlon World Championship is held on the Big Island. Halloween is akin to Mardi Gras in Hawaii. Waikiki is the place to be for a great street party!

The Triple Crown of Surfing runs from mid-November through mid-December depending on the surf. The Honolulu Marathon is usually held on the second Sunday in December attracting 25,000 runners from around the world.

The Christmas Honolulu City Lights begins a month long celebration including parades, fireworks and other gaiety. It can be rainy and cooler than the rest of the year, but rarely gets below 65. Come and visit!

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