Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Kamehameha Day!

A mock battle. Warriors fought mostly naked,
and oiled themselves as a defensive measure.

King Kam controlled Hawaii, Maui, Oahu and Molokai, but the smaller islands, Kau'ai and Ni'ihau proved difficult to add to the fold. He built a 40-ton warship to attack the islands, was forced to return to Hawaii to combat a rebellion, then was thrown back again a few years later, when disease racked his soldiers. He also fell sick, but soon recovered. He built up a massive fleet of schooners, war-canoes, armed with cannons and packed with thousands of warriors. However, it turned out his opponent, Kaumuali'i was a pacifist in the face of an obviously overwhelming force and bowed down to Kam as he pulled onto his shores. Kamehameha brought him into the fold as a vassal, and in 1810 claimed the entire island chain as his domain.

A typical 18th century battle canoe.

King Kamehameha retired from waging war to set up an effective government for his nation, establishing a tax system and promoting trade with Europe and United States, passing laws to protect innocents in war, preventing non-Hawaiians from owning land, and ending human
The King Kamehameha Statue in Hilo, Hawaii

King Kamehameha passed on May 8, 1819. Following the Hawaiian belief that your body holds the mana (power) of a person, his closest friends buried his body in secret. The location of his final resting place remains unknown to this day. However, there are many statues of King Kamehameha I. Gold-gilded statues of the King stand in Honolulu on Oahu, and Hilo on the Big Island. Painted statues also stand in Kapa'au and also the United States Capitol's Hall of Statuary.
The Kamehameha statue in Honolulu being draped in lei.

A float in the Kamehameha Day parade.

King Kamehameha Day is a wonderful celebration in the islands, with the largest events on Hawaii and Oahu. A large parade of floats covered in beautiful native flowers is followed by a mock royal court on pa'u (elaborately decorated show houses), led by a queen with eight princesses representing each island. Parades traditionally end in a ceremonial lei-draping of King Kamehameha's statues, including the one in the Statuary Hall! After the draping, there's a huge block party (ho'olaule'a), with loads of food, several bands, lots of vendors selling local crafts, art exhibitions, and many other fun activities. Great hula performances are another spectacular highlight of the celebrations, featuring dancers from all over the world.

The queen on the Kamehameha Day parade, on her pa'u.

Hula dancers compete

I must say, while I'm not one for crowds and big celebrations in general, I do enjoy King Kamehameha Day. Sadly, I'm missing out this year, as my husband has fortunately gotten a side job on Saturdays. I would have taken the bus, however it doesn't run on holidays. Also, my friends either aren't going, or don't have room to haul me and Booger in his car seat. Total bummer, and I'd love to share pictures of the fabulous parade and lei draping, especially! I'll
just have to enjoy the festivities on TV, but that doesn't make up for all the yummy food!

A water float of the parade.

A beautiful floral float in the parade.


  1. Those are some AMAZING pictures for this event.

  2. Oh wait! Kamehameha Day????
    Goku would be happy to know that this date there!
    kidding haha =D

  3. Wonderful pictures, I have always wanted to go to Hawaii.

  4. I didn't know Hawaiian history was so badass.

  5. Very cool! I have never heard of this holiday before :D Thank you for showing me a window of what other cultures are doing this weekend :D

  6. is it bad i thought of DBZ when i saw kamehameha?

  7. I'll have to make sure my next Hawiian trip coincides with Kamehameha Day.

  8. Great pictures! I also have never heard of Kamehameha Day, so thank you!

  9. i can't get over how awesome kamehameha sounds

  10. Hawaii looks so fun! I want to see one day. My sister and brother were adopted and grew up in Oahu, lucky kids lol. One day Ill go.

  11. Wow looks like quite an event, very colourful!
    Wonderfully informative post and excellent pictures.

  12. that floral parade looks awesome

  13. It is a testimony to my anime nerdiness when I instantly think of Dragonball when I hear "Kamehameha". Sorry, Hawaiian history...

  14. I've always wanted to see a movie based on his life. When I lived there, his lore was that of a god.