Did you notice all the Hawaiian flags around at the end of November? They were adorning schools, universities, community spaces, even Facebook posts. It was Lā Kūʻokoʻa! Lā Kūʻokoʻa is a kingdom holiday that was first celebrated in 1843 to commemorate Hawaiʻi’s sovereignty and independence. That was the year when the United States, Britain, and France officially recognized Hawaiian independence due to the efforts of the kingdom’s first diplomat Timoteo Haʻalilio and his associate Williiam Richards. Though Haʻalilio passed away on the return voyage to Hawaiʻi, they were successful in their mission, and the independence of Hawaiʻi was celebrated for the next five decades.
Though the celebration fell out of much of the public consciousness after the overthrow and “annexation” of Hawaiʻi, recent years have brought renewed attention to the kingdom holiday. Lā Kūʻokoʻa is being celebrated again throughout Hawaiʻi nei, at schools, universities, and in different communities. The next time November 28 rolls around, get out your Hawaiian flag and celebrate our kūʻokoʻa!