King Kamehameha Day
King Kamehameha Day is celebrated in Hawaii annually, on June 11th to honor the life of King Kamehameha the Great. King Kamehameha Day was established by Kamehameha V, the great-grandson of King Kamehameha the Great, in late 1871. The first celebration took place on June 11th, 1972. During Hawaii's transformation to statehood in 1959, King Kamehameha Day was one of the first holidays proclaimed by the State Legislature and Governor of Hawaii. King Kamehameha Day is the only holiday in the US created to honor a former monarch. As an official state holiday, all federal and local government offices and banks are closed in observation of the holiday.
King Kamehameha Day is a day of traditional festivities. Every year there is a ceremonial lei draping of the King Kamehameha statues, and an annual parade. This parade features pa'u - royal female horseback riders - who represent the 8 Hawaiian islands. After the parade, is a block party with food and music, known as a ho'olaule'a (which means celebration). These festivities serve as a tribute to Kamehameha, and act to protect, preserve, and perpetuate Hawaiian culture.