King Kamehameha Day Floral Parade on Kauai


Kauai_King_Parade-kamehameha

The first parade float carries King Kamehameha and his warriors, and they oversee the rest of the parade with spears in hand.

A brightly-colored royal Hawaiian court, princesses in elegant gowns, and horses decorated in elaborate floral arrangements. It’s the floral parade in honor of King Kamehameha Day, a public holiday in the state of Hawaii. If you’re lucky, your Hawaii vacation might fall on this day and you’ll get a chance to see a really special cultural tradition of the islands. Expect to see Hawaiian pageantry at its finest.

The holiday was first proclaimed in 1871 to honor King Kamehameha, Hawaii’s  legendary warrior and leader who united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom. The celebratory floral parade takes place in multiple locations—on Kauai, the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island) and Oahu (where the parade route is 4 miles, longest parade route in the nation).

Kauai’s parade takes place in Lihue in front of the historic County Building. It draws a mix of locals and tourists with their kids and lawn chairs in tow, and it very much feels like a small town affair. My first time attending this parade, it was apparent that those participating conveyed a great sense of honor. I felt like a dumb-dumb for almost having skipped it. I thought you might enjoy some of the photos.

Kauai_King_Parade-for the King

A traditional offering is made to the King before the parade begins.

Princess of Moloka’i

Princesses on horseback represent each of the Hawaiian islands, such as the Princess of Moloka’i here.

Princess of Oahu attendants and riders

Each island Princess and her court all wear a specific color, such as the Princess of Oahu and her riders who dressed in yellow.

Kauai_King_Parade-king royal court Kauai_King_Parade-Kings court

Kauai_King_Parade-floral hat Princess of Oahu attendants and riders

Hawaiian cowboys.

Riders of Princess of Lana’i
Riders with the Princess of Moloka’i

Kauai_King_Parade-horse bridal flowers

row of riders after parade

Kauai_King_Parade-keiki

Kauai_King_Parade-hula gals

Celebrations typically include traditional live music, food, and of course hula dancers.

handmade hawaiian corsage

Hawaiian crafts are demonstrated and sold, such as these wrist, arm or hair decorations made from ti leaves.

Kauai_King_Parade-handmade boats

hawaaian traditional wood carving demonstration

oOo

Kamehameha Day Oahu parade circa 1935

Here is the Kamehameha Day parade on Oahu circa 1935. Image provided by the Hawaii State Archives (#PP-64-4-029).

As always, thank you for reading!

Meet Suzette
suzetteI have been traveling for the better part of the last ten years in an effort to get out of my bubble. I set out to learn from other cultures and gain some understanding of the world. No matter where I go, I seek out gems off the beaten path and this site is my attempt to show you how to do the same.

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  • Monica Schwartz

    Beautiful. I have lived on Oahu for many years and only attended the Honolulu parade. It was good to see images form another island, too! Thank you for connecting to my blog as well. Aloha

    • Suzette Barnett

      Thank you so much, Monica! I’m glad you’ve now had a peek into Kauai’s celebration, though the Oahu event looks to be extraordinary from what I saw on your website :) I can see what drew both of us to the floral parade, it seems we have a lot in common. Would be lovely to work together sometime.