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Hawaii Statehood Day in the United States

Hawaii’s Statehood Day is an annual state holiday on the third Friday of August. It commemorates the anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood. This holiday is not to be confused with Statehood Day in Kentucky or Tennessee, USA.

Is Statehood Day a Public Holiday?

Statehood Day is a public holiday in Hawaii, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Hawaii's Statehood Day commemorates the day Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA.

©iStockphoto.com/muchemistry

What Do People Do?

There is a fair amount of debate surrounding this holiday, which has sparked discussions among locals. Some say that the day, which was formerly known as Admission Day, should either be removed or celebrated on a larger scale. There are those who say that no official celebrations are held on the day and describe it as a silent day. Many opinions voice out that the anniversary of statehood is virtually ignored. Some people write messages or newspaper articles to promote the holiday, wishing the state a “happy birthday”.

Others believe that the holiday is a controversial matter and can be perceived as culturally insensitive by native Hawaiians. It has also been reported that a group of independence activists disrupted a Statehood Day celebration on the grounds of Iolani palace in 2006.

Public Life

Hawaii’s Statehood Day is a state holiday so government offices are closed, as well as schools and major universities. Some bus companies may observe the public holiday, while others operate seven days a week, including all holidays. Ferries may also operate on the holiday. People planning to use public transit services on this day can check with the local public transit service providers prior to travelling.

Background

Hawaii’s Statehood Day commemorates Hawaii’s admission as a state on August 21, 1959. In 1898 the United States annexed Hawaii, which was declared as a “necessary” navy base for the conduct of the Spanish-American War. The United States’ interests coveted the islands for some time. During World War II, Oahu served as the command post for the US operations in the Pacific. Large portions of Hawaii were turned over for the US military bases. After the war, two-thirds of the residents favored statehood.

However, because of the many ethnicities present, there was resistance to Hawaii’s statehood from segregated southern states. A primary election took place in Hawaii on June 27, 1959, and various statehood propositions received many votes on that day. Following the certification of the election results, President Eisenhower signed a proclamation on August 21, 1959, declaring Hawaii to be the 50th state. This was known as Admission Day until 2001.

Symbols

Hawaii was a symbol of a new frontier when it became the 50th state of the United States of America in 1959 after many years of heated political debates and discussions. Some people saw Hawaii as a bridge to Asia and an example of American ideas.

Statehood Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015FriAug 21Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2016FriAug 19Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2017FriAug 18Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2018FriAug 17Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2019FriAug 16Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2020FriAug 21Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2021FriAug 20Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2022FriAug 19Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2023FriAug 18Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2024FriAug 16Statehood DayState holidayHawaii
2025FriAug 15Statehood DayState holidayHawaii

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