Every Third Friday Of August celebrates Hawaii's official admission into the Union as the 50th state in 1959 and it is known as Hawaii Statehood Day.
The nature of this day is quite controversial as some locals believe it should be celebrated in a grand way while some believe it should be a silent observer.
There are also some who believe that this holiday is culturally insensitive to native Hawaiians.
Hawaii Statehood Day is a public holiday in Hawaii, which means that schools and some businesses remain closed.
History of Hawaii Statehood Day
The attempts to make Hawaii an official state of the Union started back in 1849.
During the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States acquired Hawaii forcefully for strategic purposes. Also, they treated Hawaii as a military command post World War II.
After the war, a majority of the population was in favor of Hawaii becoming a State of the United States. However, many natives were against the illegal acquisition of Hawaii and wanted Hawaiian sovereignty.
There was also some resistance from the southern states of the USA, as they were still segregated, and Hawaii was very ethnically diverse.
Over the years, Hawaii had many statehood bills, the first one being in 1919 by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole.
It was only in 1959 that Congress approved the statehood bill, after a referendum where 94% of Hawaiian residents voted in favor of Hawaii becoming a state.
On August 21, 1959, Hawaii was officially admitted as the 50th state of the Union by President Eisenhower.
The first celebration of this day took place in 1969, and the holiday was known as Admission Day until 2001 when the name was changed to Hawaii Statehood Day.
How Hawaii Statehood Day is Celebrated
As it is such a controversial day, Hawaii Statehood Day is mainly observed as a silent holiday with no big events to commemorate it.
A State Senator attempted to have a small celebration in the Iolani Palace. However, a group of protesters were there to demonstrate their unhappiness with the celebration of this holiday.
As it is a day off for most of the population, beaches, and parks are crowded with friends and family groups.