Story by Jocelyn Fujii
Photo by Ann Cecil
Ever wonder why school’s out on March 26 in Hawai‘i? Or why we get to hit the beach every June 11 while our Mainland friends are dragging themselves to the office? Or why we in Hawai‘i barely notice Columbus Day while Mainlanders are hitting the sales at the mall? Hawai‘i’s always been a place slightly apart; America, yes, but not always American. No other state commemorates a king, a prince and the restoration of sovereignty after a British occupation. But Hawai‘i does, and with the full measure of pageantry: miles of lei draped on royal statues, outrigger canoe regattas, hula competitions and parades. Hawai‘i’s three unique holidays—Kamehameha Day, Kuhio Day and Restoration Day—reflect its Polynesian roots and monarchic history. In Hawai‘i they’re lavishly celebrated, while federal holidays such as Presidents’ Day and Columbus Day get barely a nod.