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Five Reasons Why Celebrating the Holidays in Hawai‘i is the BEST

Posted in: Culture & History, Events, Food & Drink, Things to Do


By Richard Melendez, Digital Editor

The holidays in Hawai‘i aren’t defined by sleigh rides, Yule logs and roasted chestnuts, BUT—that doesn’t make the season here any less festive. Put aside your preconceived notions of what the holidays are “supposed” to be, and you’ll find that the season here is just as joyous as anywhere else, if not more so. Here’s five reasons why:

  • Reason 1: CHRISTMAS PARADES! Sure, other state’s have Christmas parades, but not many places have parades in December where you don’t have to bundle up! Shorts, slippers and marching bands without frostbitten fingers are the norm here. By the way, this also means that we get to comfortably enjoy fireworks on New Year's, too! 
  • Reason 2: Lights, lights and more lights! From the Electric Light Parade in Honolulu to the Kauai Festival of Lights to Honolulu City Lights to the dazzling suburban light shows in Kāne‘ohe, Waikele and other neighborhoods around the state, there’s no shortage of wattage on display!
  • Reason 3: We’ve got our own Christmas song! Sure, the old favorites are fun, especially when they’re performed with a local twist, but it just isn’t Christmas until you hear “Mele Kalikimaka”! 
  • Reason 4: Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele! (Pictured) ‘Nuff said.
  • Reason 5: Nobody—and I mean nobody—does food like Hawai‘i does food. A local holiday feast may or may not involve a traditional Christmas ham or turkey, but you’ll get to enjoy a spread that's sure to include local favorites like roast pork, sushi, poke, noodles, gandules rice, chicken katsu, konbu maki, kal bi, pasteles stew, crab wontons, assorted casseroles and a dozen different salads and sides—and save room for dessert! Dobash cake, mochi, malasadas, sweet bread, butter mochi, haupia, kulolo, custard pie... mmmm… and if you’re lucky, Aunty will make her pumpkin crunch bars this year!

BONUS: The festivities go on forever! Things kick-off in earnest in November with Thanksgiving, and won’t really slow down here until Chinese New Year in February. Nothing like firecrackers and lion dancing to tie up four months of pretty much non-stop partying!

So hereʻs the bottom line: The season means different things to different people, and it’s celebrated in as many ways as there are days in the year. In the end, it’s a time of joy and goodwill to be shared with those you care about. That’s the one constant that holds true whether or not you have a roaring fireplace or a snowy Christmas Day.

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