7 Hawaiian Celebrations You Won’t Want to Miss

Hawaii Visitor Info

This state is proud of its culture and history with both past and present sharing Hawaiian celebrations.

Visitors to these beautiful islands are more than willing to immerse themselves in the commemorations that tell of these times, with a view to keeping the stories and the relevance of the past alive.

Some of these events have been set in stone over the years and some are younger than their celebratory counterpart, but they are all worth attending if you can.

Ready to celebrate Hawaiian style? From local festivals to state-wide festivities and merriment, it’s all waiting.

The beautiful state of Hawaii won’t let you down. Do you need better reasons to visit?

Let’s go Hawaii. Show us how it’s done.

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Updated 2023 Hawaii Visitor Guide

If you're visiting Hawaii soon, be sure to download a copy of our updated 2023 Hawaii Visitor Guide. We've updated the packet with a lot of new great information for potential visitors (and for those who've been a time or two as well).

Cooked shrimp with pasta to represent the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival as a Hawaiian celebration to attend

Kapalua Wine & Food Festival

For over 40 years, Maui’s Kapalua Resort has been hosting this festival to celebrate the food and wine of the region. Featuring a selection of winemakers, visitors to the area can enjoy a weekend of food and beverages to their heart's content. Some of the winemakers will host dinners to celebrate the coming together of the paired wines and complimenting cuisine.  

Visit their website for the upcoming schedules, this event usually takes place in June every year and is the largest food and wine festival in the US.

Where: On the shores of the Kapalua Resort, Maui.

When: Check the website's schedule for confirmation. Held in June each year.

Significance: A celebration of local winemakers and internationally renowned food.

How to Celebrate: Enjoy the local wine and fare.

King Kamehameha statue to represent the King Kamehameha Hawaiian celebration and holiday to attend

King Kamehameha Celebration

Mark June 11th on your Hawaiian calendar as the day to celebrate King Kamehameha. Created as a reminder and to honor the King, this day represents his creation of the United Kingdom of Hawaii, thus settling all the islands forever as a place of culture, respect, and importance in the Pacific.

Carnivals, fairs, competitions, and lively entertainment greet every visitors both local and worldwide, who join in the celebrations.

Flower leis are placed on the Statue of this great conqueror as a sign of remembrance and respect for his sacrifices.

An excellent way to start your Hawaiian Summer.  

Where: The Big Island of Hawaii. Celebrated on all Islands.

When: June 11 each year.

Significance: The unification of the Hawaiian Islands.

How to Celebrate: Take part in the entertainment, storytelling, song, and dance of the day.

A clapper board to represent the Hawaii International Film Festival a Hawaiian celebration

Hawaii International Film Festival

Film lovers rejoice. This is your time to see the best Hawaii has to offer to all the film connoisseurs out there. A showcase of lesser-known films and filmmakers, these festivals throw a large spotlight on the emerging industry and its creators. It also asks people to support and celebrate the film diversity, currently enjoying a great resurgence.

Check out the website for the names of films being shown along with the director and writer information. For all those creators out there, you can submit your films for consideration to be included in future events.

One not to be missed if you have a love of indie films and wish to support a growing creative industry.

Where: Honolulu.

When: Held each year during November.

Significance: Asia-pacific cinema focus, especially on local and independent filmmakers.

How to Celebrate: Attend the festival, see the films, and remember the names of up-and-coming filmmakers. Donations to HIFF are greatly appreciated.

Coffee for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival a Hawaiian Celebration to attend

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

Get your buzz on with the best in Kona coffee offerings. Fifty years and growing, this festival celebrates local coffee producers, farmers, artisans, and more.

Is it just coffee? Nope. You’ll be in for a range of entertainment, food, and talent galore.

Check out the local handicrafts made with care and attention not seen in massed produced items.

Take home some merchandise and meet some of the friendliest people in Hawaii.

Stay for longer. Enjoy the best this town has to offer.

Where: Kona, in the Western region of the big island of Hawaii.

When: Yearly in November.

Significance: Honors the farmers and creators of a successful industry born from humble beginnings.

How to Celebrate: Attend and purchase the finely produced local coffee, and local arts.

Fireworks for the Honolulu Festival a Hawaiian celebration to attend

Honolulu Festival

Although this festival has been canceled over the past few years, presenters of this one-of-a-kind party have plans for its March 2023 revival. That’s not too far away and gives everyone a chance to cement their Hawaiian trip plans.

Admission to all the festival’s events is free and based around the city center so is very accessible for locals and tourists in the area. Watch live performances and admire the traditional art demonstrations. This is a truly multi-cultural festival with entertainers from all parts of the world. Participants, speakers, and creators for the Philippines, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, and of course Hawaii all join to promote harmony and peace through the understanding and welcoming of cultural diversity.

The evening ends with a parade filled with color, dance, and song as a final celebration of fireworks fills the skies of Waikiki Beach.

This is truly a must-see and something to look forward to.

Where: Honolulu, Oahu.

When: Yearly, in March.

Significance: promoting mutual understanding, cooperation, and harmony for all Hawaiians.

How to Celebrate: Attend the many events and partake in the activities. At the end of the night watch the parade that culminates in a fireworks display on Waikiki Beach.

A dog with a Hawaiian Lei necklace to represent Lei Day a Hawaiian celebration and holiday to attend

Lei Day

State-wide and ready to greet you with a smile. Welcome to Lei Day.

With songs and dances of the past, witness the traditional entertainment brought to everyone with genuine love and the intent of creating harmony among everyone. Listen to the Royal Hawaiian Band early in the morning and move through the day’s festivities with ceremonies and performances each designed to leave you with the true meaning of Aloha.

Each island has an individual flower and color to symbolize this day’s importance.

Set to return to  Kapi'olani Park on Sunday, May 1, 2022, this day is a true celebration of all things we have come to love about Hawaii.

Check the schedules for events where you are on that day.

Where: Festivities are held state-wide.

When: May 1 each year.

Significance: A celebration, state-wide of the Aloha spirit.

How to Celebrate: Leis are commonly given as gifts on this day.

A man floating on a surfboard with lanterns in the water to represent the Lantern Floating Festival a Hawaiian celebration to attend

Lantern Floating Festival

Remembrance and humility are the order of the day for this Hawaiian festival. A sea of lights acknowledges the lives lost and missed each year on a day that means so much to many.

The launching of hundred of paper and wooden lanterns onto the Pacific Ocean is truly an awe-inspiring sight.

Both locals and visitors take a part in this festival. Memorial Day will mean something different for everyone who witnesses this from that point on.

This year the day of the festival was Monday, May 30.

Where: Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu.

When: Each Memorial Day - May 30 in 2022.

Significance: Created to honor those who have passed away.

How to Celebrate: Simply witness in person. This event has also now been made global with live stream access for those all around the world. 

 

Hawaiians really know how to celebrate, and it’s not just about fanfare for the sake of it, these events have true significance and will remain in all hearts as long as they exist.

This is more than just sightseeing, the cultural relevance, and history surrounding all festivals and celebratory events throughout all the islands have a foundation based around.

Imagine what they will do in the future? The best is yet to come.

 

What events are you planning on seeing when in Hawaii? There’s a lot to choose from, and all are memorable experiences. Let us show you the way.

Updated 2023 Hawaii Visitor Guides

If you're visiting Hawaii soon, be sure to download a copy of one of our updated 2023 Hawaii Visitor Guides. We've updated the packets with a lot of new great information for potential visitors (and for those who've been a time or two as well).

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