31 Days of Life in my Hawaii Day 7:: Miscellaneous: Discoverers’ Day

Capt. James Cook, “discoverer” of the Hawaiian Islands in 1778

So tomorrow is the second Monday in October, which I understand from my research has been a federal holiday since 1937: Columbus Day.

Not so fast: here in Hawaii, please do not call it Columbus Day. Our observation on the second Monday in October is known as Discoverers’ Day.

Which I also found in my research isn’t even considered a holiday here. But schools and state offices and some businesses will be closed anyway. Go figure.

And, you’d be hard pressed to get a straight answer to the question of who, exactly, the “discoverers” are that we are celebrating. Or commemorating. Or acknowledging. Whatever.

Maybe it’s Captain Cook, who arrived on the scene in 1778, then a year later met his demise at Kealakekua Bay. Or maybe, since technically Cook didn’t actually discover Hawaii — the islands had been inhabited, after all, many centuries prior to his coming — it’s about those Polynesian voyagers who found their way here from the South Pacific in canoes, using only the stars to navigate their way. They, of anyone, ought to qualify as the first “discoverers” of the Hawaiian archipelago.

And since we are a state in the Union, we shouldn’t forget about Columbus entirely, so let’s lump him in with the other “discoverers.” Even though it might seem a bit out of whack, out here in the middle of the Pacific, to celebrate some Italian guy arriving in North America after voyaging across the Atlantic, 620 years ago.

The whole idea is kind of confusing; no wonder it has gotten so controversial in recent years. What with all the attempts at political correctness (various places in the U.S. now refer to the day as Native American Day, or Indigenous Peoples Day), it seems like nobody really knows what to do with the second Monday in October. But I don’t suppose you can just take a federal holiday off the calendar that’s been there for 75 years.

Anyhoo. The Coach will enjoy having tomorrow off, after a somewhat hectic first month or so in the school year. Maybe we’ll even get in a little beach time … more on that tomorrow.

This is the seventh post in my series, 31 Days of Life in my Hawaii. Click here to get the links to the other posts in the series.

1 thought on “31 Days of Life in my Hawaii Day 7:: Miscellaneous: Discoverers’ Day

  1. Debbie

    I know! It’s a controversial day nowadays but everyone still wants that Monday off of school and work! LOL!


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