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Honolulu, HI 96815
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The Annual Okinawan Festival in Oahu is a vibrant cultural event that celebrates the rich heritage and traditions of the Okinawan people. This festival takes place every year in September and is one of the largest ethnic festivals in Hawaii. It serves as a gathering for the local Okinawan community as well as a way to share their culture with the wider population.
September 2 - 3, 2023
About the Okinawan Festival
Started in 1982 by the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, the Okinawan Festival celebrates all things Okinawan and brings together Okinawans and Okinawans-at-heart. Our theme of "Sharing Uchinanchu Aloha" is embedded in everything we do. Join us for the ono food, beautiful performances, educational cultural exhibits and much more.
A Brief History
It's hard to believe that so many years have passed since one of Hawaii's most successful ethnic celebrations - the Okinawan Festival. Since its debut at Ala Moana Park's McCoy Pavilion, who could have imagined back then that the event would grow to attract over 65,000 people from all over the world, involve more than two thousand volunteers, and be staged at the Hawaii Convention Center?
But like so many aspects of the Okinawan experience in Hawaii, it is from knowing the humble beginnings of this wonderful cultural event that we come to fully appreciate it.
The Okinawan Festival grew out of a cultural program initiated and organized by Hui O Laulima, an Okinawan women's group. Their goal was to share the Okinawan culture with the public through exhibitions and demonstrations. Hui O Laulima's first "Cultural Jubilee" was held at the Ala Moana Hotel in 1971. It was co-sponsored by the United Okinawan Association (since renamed the Hawaii United Okinawa Association).
During the planning, word of the jubilee filtered back to Okinawa. The government quickly assembled a troupe of Okinawan dance masters to perform in Hawaii at the Farrington High School Auditorium. The performance was presented in conjunction with the jubilee.
Hui O Laulima and the UOA continued their joint sponsorship of the cultural jubilee until 1982, when the desire to reach out to the broader local community and to involve more UOA clubs and their members resulted in the birth of the Okinawan Festival.
The first Okinawan Festival was held in Hawaii in 1982 at McCoy Pavilion in Ala Moana Park. Each year brought growth and new programs. By 1985, the Festival had outgrown McCoy Pavilion, so it was moved to a bigger venue, Thomas Square and the Honolulu Academy of Arts, before moving once again in 1990 to Kapiolani Park, where the festival would grow to become one of the largest ethnic festivals in the State of Hawaii. In 2018, the decision was made to move the Okinawa Festival to the Hawaii Convention Center. Weather and decreasing manpower to build the festival infrastructure were the impetus for looking to move the festival to a new location. Moving the festival indoors will provide the opportunity to showcase new activities and exhibits and will provide a comfortable environment for all our attendees - from babies to senior citizens - who attend our festival.
Attracting more than 50,000 visitors annually, the Okinawan Festival has become the premier annual event of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association. Proceeds from the Festival support the HUOA's mission of preserving, promoting and sharing the Okinawan culture.
Live and In-Person at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on
2023 41st Annual Okinawan Festival Event - Largest Celebration of Hawaiian Culture in US (Ono Food, Performances, Cultural Exhibits) 2 Days
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Saturday, 2 September, 2023
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