Hundreds gather in Thomas Square to celebrate Sovereignty Restoration Day
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds gathered in Thomas Square on Sunday to mark La Ho’iho’i Ea — Sovereignty Restoration Day ― when King Kamehameha III regained control of the Hawaiian Kingdom after a British Ambassador and Navy captain unilaterally took control of the islands for five months.
Thomas Square is where the holiday was first observed in 1843.
Hawaiian activists have been celebrating the day since the 1980s.
The state recognized the holiday this year, though it is not a day off for employees.
“It’s an incredible step for our community of organizers. For the past several decades, we’ve brought this event to what it is today, for us as a younger generation to really grow on that, pushing into directions not really imagined decades ago,” said kumu and organizer Imai Winchester.
“I was never raised with this kind of celebrations or just this knowledge that we have today. So I think to see these keiki that have these opportunities, and then to learn in their school to learn in the community. It just gets them exposed to who we are as Hawaiians, what it is to connect to this place to Hawaii, and then just connecting to our culture and our language and our history.” said Allyson Franco of UH Native Hawaiian Student Services.
The event included hula performances, lei making and local vendor booths.
“As we braid this, we’re also putting like our good intentions into it, especially as we’re putting it onto the apu as well,” said lei vendor Olivia Wallace.
“The exchange from generation to generation is an important part of how we bind ourselves together, through our histories to our stories to our traditions,” Winchester said.
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