5 Ways to Celebrate King Kamehameha Day This Year

Kamehameha Day is on Sunday, June 11, 2023, with festivities happening across O‘ahu. Here’s how you can participate.


For Kamehameha Day, multiple celebrations are taking place across the island. The special day has a long history. On December 22, 1871, King Kamehameha V proclaimed a national holiday to honor and celebrate his grandfather and the father of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Originally, the people of Hawai‘i wanted to mark the legacy of Lot Kapūaiwa (Kamehameha V) on his birthday, December 11. But the humble king decided to honor his grandfather instead by pushing the holiday to a further date of June 11, and the first celebration took place in 1872.


Since then, we celebrate with Kamehameha Day events every year that include parades, lei draping ceremonies and cultural activities. Here are five ways you and your ‘ohana can participate on O‘ahu.



Kamehameha Day at the Royal Hawaiian Center

Photo: Courtesy of Royal Hawaiian Center


King Kamehameha Day at the Royal Hawaiian Center

Tuesday, June 6, to Saturday, June 10

On June 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., help weave a 30-foot lei for the special Lei Draping ceremony at Ali‘iolani Hale. You can also participate in one of many immersive classes throughout the week, from hula lessons to lau hala weaving, taking place daily from Monday, June 5, to Friday, June 9, from 11 a.m. or noon. Watch live hula and music performances from Tuesday, June 6, through Saturday, June 10. For specific times, visit the Royal Hawaiian Center website.


Royal Hawaiian Center, 2201 Kalākaua Ave., royalhawaiiancenter.com, @royalhwnctr


SEE ALSO: How to Make Your Own Lei Po‘o


Kamehameha Day draping lei on statue

Photo: Courtesy of Greg Yamamoto


King Kamehameha Statue Lei Draping

Friday, June 9, 2:30 to 5 p.m.

The annual lei draping ceremony begins with a Royal Hawaiian Band performance. Various royal societies, government entities and sponsors will be present to deliver lei. The general public is also welcome to drape lei upon the King Kamehameha Statue—just keep in mind that there are a few guidelines. The lei should be approximately 30 feet in length, no shorter than 20 feet and less than 20 pounds and only use natural, biodegradable plant materials.


Aliʻiolani Hale, 417 South King Street, kamehamehaday.hawaii.gov, @hawaii_sfca



King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade

Photo: Courtesy of Greg Yamamoto


106th King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade

Saturday, June 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For its 106th year, the parade will feature floral floats, local and national marching bands, pāʻū riders on horseback and a motorcycle unit. The route begins at King Street in front of ‘Iolani Palace, through Punchbowl Street, Ala Moana Boulevard, Kalākaua Avenue and ends at Monsarrat Avenue and Kapi‘olani Park. Note that streets will begin to close in Downtown Honolulu at 7:30 a.m. The parade is expected to reach Kapi‘olani Park around 11:30 a.m.


A few tips: Motorists are advised to avoid the area by using alternate routes and allow for extra driving time in areas near the event. Event organizers share that any spot along the route is a good place to sit and watch the parade, but Waikīkī will probably be the most crowded. Ample parking is available at Waterfront Plaza.


ʻIolani Palace to Kapiʻolani Park, kamehamehaday.hawaii.gov, @hawaii_sfca



King Kamehameha Celebration Hoʻolauleʻa

Photo: Courtesy of Greg Yamamoto


King Kamehameha Celebration Ho‘olaule‘a

Saturday, June 10, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don’t miss this vibrant celebration at Kapi‘olani Park with food, music, hula, cultural activities, games, education, demonstrations and workshops. There will be an activity tent with block printing on T-shirts, pupu ni‘ihau lei-making, lomi lomi, lau hala weaving and more—instructors will be present to teach participants. Next to the activities tent, keiki can hop into the inflatable bounce houses. 22 food vendors will be onsite with offerings ranging from shave ice and freeze-dried snacks to hot dogs, burgers, chicken wings, Hawaiian food and plate lunches. Both cash and credit cards will be accepted.


Here’s a schedule of the live entertainment:

11 a.m. Alan Poki (45 min)

12 p.m. Liam Moleta, On the Rise Artist w/ the Henry Kapono Foundation (30 min)

12:45 p.m. Kaealani’s Hula ‘Ohana (30 min)

1:30 p.m. Kalehua Krug (45 min)

2:30 p.m. Hālau Hula Olana (45 min)

3:30 p.m. Makaona Hawaiian Hula (30 min)

4:15 p.m. Mailani (45 min)


Kapi‘olani Park, 3840 Paki Ave., kamehamehaday.hawaii.gov, @hawaii_sfca


SEE ALSO: New Kumu Hula Edith Kanaka‘ole Quarter Celebrates Hawaiian Culture


Inaugural King Kamehameha Celebration Pā‘ina

Saturday, June 10, 6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy an evening of Hawaiian culture with live music, crafts and traditions. The free event will be held at Queensbreak Waikīkī restaurant located on the third floor by the pool at the Waikīkī Marriott Beach Resort and Spa. The bar and kitchen will be open for service.


Waikīkī Marriott Beach Resort and Spa, 2552 Kalakaua Ave., kamehamehaday.hawaii.gov, @hawaii_sfca