Honolulu City Lights: Making Christmas In Hawaii Merry & Bright

Honolulu City Lights: Making Christmas In Hawaii Merry & Bright

Posted by Hawaiian Isles on 11/30/2018 to Best of Hawaii
Honolulu City Lights:
Making Christmas In Hawaii Merry & Bright

In the 1970s, Hawaiian singer/songwriter Keola Beamer wrote Honolulu City Lights, a song on an album that went on to win Best Contemporary Hawaiian Album in the Hawaiian music industry's Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Beyond that milestone, both the song and album continues to be one of the most popular and most played works of contemporary Hawaiian music.

In 1985, Honolulu Mayor Frank F. Fasi created a free Christmas holiday event at Honolulu Hale (City Hall) that awed with a lighted tree on the main lawn, decorated tree display in the courtyard, concert, and displays of lights on the trees and buildings running along the corridor from Downtown to the City Hall.

Two years later, the City of Honolulu adopted Beamer’s popular Honolulu City Lights moniker to reflect the essence of what has become an annual month-long Christmas display and festival like no other in the Hawaiian Islands.

Expected to continue attracting thousands of visitors and residents as it has in the past, this year’s Dec. 1 opening night of the popular Hawaii holiday event will feature the Public Workers’ Electric Light Parade from A`ala Park and along King Street to Honolulu Hale. Among the more than 50 units expected to participate will be fire and police vehicles, TheBus, city service vehicles, marching bands, and entries from Honolulu City Lights sponsors.


The opening night will also include a holiday concert and wreath exhibit. Festivities run from 4-11pm, with the Mayor flipping the switch at 6pm for the annual Lighting Ceremony of a 55-foot Christmas tree.

Yet, arguably, nothing is more iconic during Honolulu City Lights than the 21-foot tall, 2-ton Shaka Santa & Mrs. Claus (Tutu Mele) basking in the warm Hawaiian weather with their shoes off in the venue’s courtyard.

Adding more cheer will be food vendors, keiki rides, visits with Santa, and the Honolulu Hale Courthouse filled with Hawaiian themed Christmas trees decorated by local organizations, as well as the many departments of City & County workers of Honolulu.

For a full schedule of events and best parking options during this annual festival running from Dec. 1, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019, visit HonoluluCityLights.org.

How To Speak Hawaii’s Holiday Language
Learn these Hawaiian words to help you speak island holiday lingo like a local!


  • Ahiahi Kalikimaka: Christmas Eve
  • Akua: God
  • Aloha: Love
  • Anela: Angel
  • Hai Puehuehu: Snowflake
  • Hau?oli Makahiki Hou: Happy New Year
  • Hau Kea: Snow
  • Hau'oli: Joy or Happy
  • Hoku: Star
  • Iesu Kristo: Jesus Christ
  • Kanakaloka: Santa Claus
  • Kanake: Candy
  • Kaumahana: Mistletoe
  • Kawa'u: Holly
  • La'au Kalikimaka: Christmas Tree
  • Lei: Garland or Wreath
  • Leinekia: Reindeer
  • Makana: Gift
  • Malu: Peace
  • Mele Kalikimaka: Merry Christmas
  • Menehune: Elf
  • Popohau: Snowball
  • Wehi: Ornament


Mele Kalikimaka!


We hope you enjoyed our little taste of Aloha! If you ever have any questions or story ideas, please e-mail us at mailorder@hawaiianisles.com!


Mahalo!


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