Many of you will have a white Christmas, but in Hawaii we opt for a bright Christmas.
Many of you may have heard Bing Crosby singing “Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)” during the holiday season. A catchy little tune talking about a “bright Hawaiian Christmas.” In many ways, this is very true.
Every Christmas since 1985, downtown Honolulu is decked out lights and ornaments. Called “Honolulu City Lights,” it runs from early December till a few days after January 1st. The mayor’s building, Honolulu Hale (Honolulu House) is the focal point of the festivities. A large tree is set out front along with Santa relaxing in bare feet with Mrs. Claus.
The interior is set with trees and wreaths made by different divisions of city government offices. Outside the lawns of the the government buildings are set up with displays. Most opening night ceremonies can gather as many as 76,000 people, according to the local news. The crowds are massive with people enjoying the lights, taking photos, and eating local treats like Spam Musubi. A local parade opens the lighting ceremony, but on weekend nights trolleys lit up will take “booze cruisers” past the lights as they holiday bar crawl. Some bicycle clubs will illuminate their bikes and ride around the area in holiday merriment.
Here are some photos from last year’s display:
The palace is also lit up for the holidays just a block from Honolulu Hale:
The kids’ train holiday train ride on long exposure:
If you plan to see the lights while in Honolulu, the busiest nights are opening ceremonies and the weekend before Christmas, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day evening. Bring your camera and a tripod. Parking is a premium so be patient. There are a few locations the city has set aside where you can park and catch a shuttle into the area.
Translation: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Aloha and Happy Holidays to all!