Hawaii Flag Day is a holiday celebrated on July 31 every year. Even an unassuming piece of cloth is worth commemorating, and that’s what Hawaii Flag Day is all about — a whole day dedicated to learning about and appreciating the Hawaiian flag. The Hawaiian flag, or in the Hawaiian language, ‘Ka Hae Hawai’i,’ is a flag endowed with a rich historical background. Its design follows more than a century old’s strife for inclusiveness. Did you know that the flag is the only state flag in the U.S. to feature another country’s flag? Read on to learn more.
History of Hawaii Flag day
If there was anything that could compete for prominence in the history of Hawaii, it would be its flag, and it’s not surprising that parts of the history of the then Kingdom and present state are inextricably attached to its flag.
The Hawaiian Kingdom was established and first ruled by King Kamehameha I, who had a very close relationship with the then British Monarch, King George III. Because of their friendship, King Kamehameha flew the British flag in his kingdom, until that act came into question. When Kamehameha I contracted one of his British allies to redesign a flag for his empire, he didn’t know that nearly two centuries later, the flag would inspire a son of the land to create a day for its celebration.
The Hawaiian flag has, since being commissioned in 1816, undergone various modifications throughout its history. One of the changes implemented was in 1845 when the number of horizontal stripes on it was changed to eight, indicating the number of islands in the kingdom.
Today, both the American and British flags are included in the flag’s design. Regardless of these modifications, however, the flag maintained the original ideal behind its design even after the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown by America in 1893. In 1990, John Waihee, the then-governor of the state of Hawaii declared July 31 as a day to commemorate the flag, which is still observed today, more than three decades later.
Hawaii Flag day timeline
King Kamehameha the Great commissions the first Hawaiian flag.
The earliest design of the current Hawaiian flag is introduced.
Even after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the flag continues to be used.
John Waihee, the governor of Hawaii, declares July 31 Hawaiian Flag Day.
Hawaii Flag day FAQs
Why is the Hawaiian flag British?
The Hawaiian flag is a hybrid of the U.S. and British flags. The Union Jack of the British flag is found on the Hawaiian flag as a result of the close relationship between the Hawaiian Kingdom’s first ruler, King Kamehameha I, and Captain George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy.
Where can the Hawaiian flag fly alone?
Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is the only place that flies the Hawaiian flag independent of any other flag. This is because of the rich cultural and historical background of the park.
Why did Hawaii join the United States?
The Spanish-American War spurred nationalism, which resulted in the United States annexing Hawaii in 1898.
Hawaii Flag day Activities
Fly the Hawaiian flag everywhere
Hoist it up and fly it throughout the day. It will encourage passersby to participate in observing the day by guessing which state the flag belongs to.
Read up on the flag's history
Read about the genesis and development of the flag. There is a lot of history hidden behind it.
Visit the Pu'ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site
Visit the park and take a look at the lone, beautiful Hawaiian flag flying there. It’s a sight to behold.
5 Interesting Facts About Hawaii
It has two lingua francas
Hawaii is the only U.S. state that has two official languages — English and Hawaiian.
Gambling is illegal
Along with Utah, all forms of gambling in Hawaii are against the law.
The word 'Aloha' is used both as a 'Hello' and a 'Goodbye' in Hawaii.
Hawaiians hug rather than shake hands
Citizens of Hawaii hug each other rather than shake hands upon greeting.
Shoes are taken off when entering homes
Visitors take their shoes off when visiting another’s house.
Why We Love Hawaii Flag day
It allows us to appreciate history
Even if you don't didn’t enjoy history classes, the story behind the Hawaiian flag is one everybody can appreciate. Learn about it today.
It opens Hawaii to the world
If you didn’t know much about Hawaii before, the day gives you the chance to take a closer look at the island state. Discover all there is to know on Hawaii Flag Day.
It attracts tourists to Hawaii
Those who appreciate the flag's ingenuity would no doubt like to pay a visit to the state it originates from. Why not start planning a trip today?
Hawaii Flag day dates