On Oahu and the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, there is a wide array of festivals and events every month that celebrate countless special occasions. Heading out to local events or festivals offer tourists a chance to get a true feel for island life. Whether it's an annual festival, a live music performance, an art exhibit, or a sporting event, there are always Oahu events happening. There are several Oahu festivals each year showcasing the island's cultural heritage and history through song, hula and other dancing, and food. Most of the cultural festivals in Oahu are simultaneously celebrated throughout all the islands, presenting an opportunity to soak in the true spirit of the Pacific islands.
One of the biggest and most anticipated events in Oahu is the Aloha Festival, an annual celebration held in September. It is the largest of all Oahu festivals and involves a series of special events presented over several consecutive days. Many of the larger Oahu hotels and resorts host components of the Aloha Festival. One of the first Oahu events during the Aloha Festival is the Royal Court Investiture, where traditional hula and chanting are the main draws. Opening ceremonies are at the beautiful Iolani Palace, one of the biggest attractions on Oahu. The biggest block party of the year is the Waikiki Ho'olaule'a, also a part of the Aloha Festival and one of the Honolulu events taking place as part of the celebrations. There is also a Floral Parade, the Hula & Music Festival and Competition, the Annual Ukulele Contest, and the Keiki Ho'olaule'a.
For a memorable and vibrant look at one of Oahu's special cultural events, attend the Lantern Floating Ceremony on Memorial Day. Commemorating loved ones and ancestors who have passed on, this event is marked by colorful, candle-lit lanterns that are set free on the ocean. This traditional Buddhist practice, originating in Japan, is notable for the accompaniment of the taiko drums and Japanese shomyo choir, combined with the traditional Hawaiian hula. This ceremony is one of the most momentous of all Oahu events.
What better way to see some of Oahu's most beautiful plants and blooms than an arboretum tour? During several months of the year the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, along with the Lyon Arboretum, host special tours and talks about the island's native flora. For four weekends in May and June, the State Fair is a major focus, featuring a midway with lots of rides, great local food, plenty of games for all ages, and vendors showcasing local talent. Throughout June, July, and August the Japanese Buddhist Obon dances and festivals are major events welcoming everyone. Brought to the islands by Japanese immigrants, these Oahu festivals illustrate a longstanding tradition of honoring ancestors through dance and music. All Buddhist temples on the island participate, including the Kotohira Jinsha Temple in Honolulu and Pearl City Hongwanji Mission near Pearl Harbor.
In October, the Hawaii International Film Festival is the biggest of Oahu events, while the biggest of Honolulu events in the same month is the Annual Orchid Society Orchid Show. November brings forth the onslaught of a host of winter surfing Oahu festivals, including the Annual World Invitational Hula Festival, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition, and the Roxy Pro, the women's surfing championships. During December the number of Honolulu events is incredible, and they are hosted by Honolulu hotels, resorts, and many city facilities. The entire month is one of the busiest on the island with respect to festivals.
With fairs, competitions, memorials, town festivals, canoe races, marathons, craft fairs, golfing tournaments, concerts, and much more, Oahu events number in the hundreds, creating an impressive annual calendar. Many of the events are free, and visitors are most welcome at all the public occasions. With just about every event replete with popular island food, you'll not only have a great time, but also you'll be treated to a true island experience as no event is complete without delicious island fare.