Kamehameha Day in Kapaau.

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King Kamehameha Day, June 11, was first proclaimed by Kamehameha V (on December 22, 1871) as a day to honor his grandfather, Kamehameha I. It was almost meant as a replacement for Hawaiian Sovereignty Restoration Day (on July 31) which the king and ministers disliked due to its association with the Paulet Affair.

The first observance of the holiday happened the following year. Late 19th century celebrations of King Kamehameha I Day featured carnivals and fairs, foot races, horse races and velocipede races. King Kamehameha I Day was one of the first holidays proclaimed by the Governor of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi State Legislature when Hawaiʻi achieved statehood in 1959.

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Today, King Kamehameha I Day is treated with elaborate events harkening back to ancient Hawaiʻi, respecting the cultural traditions that Kamehameha defended as his society was slowly shifting towards European trends.

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