June 11 is the official state holiday to celebrate King Kamehameha who unified the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810. On Maui, I celebrated the holiday with my Ahahui Kaahumanu sisters in the Kamehameha Day March in Kahului on the actual holiday on Tuesday, June 11 and in the Commemorative Parade in Lahaina on Saturday, June 15. The Ahahui Kaahumanu is a royal society of Native Hawaiian women honoring Queen Ka’ahumanu, favorite wife of King Kamehameha.
The march in Kahului is a solemn event for members of the four royal societies and the community as we walked one-mile down Ka’ahumanu Avenue from the University of Hawaii Maui College to Hoaloha Park. The police coned off the car lane nearest the sidewalk so we could walk safely down the major street in Kahului and cross a major intersection along the way. The Royal Order of Kamehameha led the event and hosted the paina (social gathering with food) afterwards at their clubhouse at Hale Nanea. My Uncle Clifford started this event back in 2000 and the tradition continues today.
The parade in Lahaina is a fun event as we rode in cars and waved to spectators down the one-mile route from Kenui Street along Front Street to Shaw Street. This year we had five bright red cars to accommodate our group with three to four members per car. The Royal Order of Kamehameha led the event and provided a tour bus to take us back and forth from Kahului to the parade start and finish in air conditioned luxury. After Hawaiian protocols concluded the event, I got a photo with the new Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino who rode in the parade with his wife. “Please send me the photo,” commented the mayor. I’m pleased that our current and former mayor know me by name.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele