Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day celebrates the birthday and life of this elder statesman of Hawaii. This state-level public holiday falls every 26 March.
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Prince Jonah was the cousin of the Queen of Hawaii when he was born in 1871. He was dubbed “prince” because the queen, his aunt, named him an heir to the Hawaiian throne.
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole ranks among the most well known and best loved of all Hawaii’s past leaders. After Hawaii’s Monarchy was toppled in an American-led coup that handed Hawaii over to the US as a territory, Prince Jonah helped in a rebellion plot against the new “situation” in 1895.
But later, he realized resistance was futile and instead ran for and won the position of delegate from Hawaii Territory to the US Congress. He held on to this post for many years and used it to help develop Pearl and Honolulu Harbors, improve mail service, and otherwise help the lot of his people.
In 1920, he persuaded Congress to pass a homestead act for Native Hawaiians. And he also was instrumental in getting Hawaii admitted to the union as a state.
On Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day, there are numerous parades and special events that highlight Hawaiian culture, such as canoe races, dancing and music, and feasting on traditional Hawaiian cuisine. There are also commemorative services held at the Royal Museum in Oahu where the Prince is interred.