CELEBRATING 145 YEARS OF KAMEHAMEHA DAY
Contributed by Hoʻokahua, Kamehameha Schools
On December 22, 1871, King Kamehameha V, Lot Kapuāiwa, proclaimed by royal decree that the eleventh day of June would henceforth be celebrated to honor his illustrious grandfather Kamehameha I, founder of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
In preparation for the first observance of the holiday, a royal command was printed in the newspaper “Ke Au ‘Oko‘a” on June 6, 1872.
MA KE KAUOHA. O KA POALUA, la 11 o Iune, ka La Hoomanao o KAMEHAMEHA I, e malamaia i La Kulaia, a e paniia na Keena Aupuni a pau. Ferd. W. Hutchison, Kuhina Kalaiaina.
BY AUTHORITY. Tuesday the 11th of June, the Day of Commemoration of Kamehameha I, will be observed as a Holiday, and all Government Offices will be closed. Ferd. W. Hutchison, Minister of the Interior.
That year, the first Kamehameha Day was celebrated in resplendent enthusiasm and aloha, with multiple programs being held throughout the islands.
On Maui, memorial-themed speeches were given during a holiday program and feast in Wailuku. In Lahaina, there was a gathering at which speeches, songs, and prayers were delivered. Following the formal program, the crowd made its way to Keawaiki for a day of festivities including boat races, mule races, sack races, swimming races, and a pig chase. There was even an event in which tins were filled with molasses, and competitors had to use their tongues to find a dollar buried inside.