Diamond Head, Hawaii’s most famous landmark, rises on Oahu to the east of Honolulu. Another well-known landmark, Punchbowl, also overlooks Honolulu. The crater of Punchbowl contains the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. A scenic road winds from Honolulu and through the Nuuanu Valley to Nuuanu Pali, a 370 m (1,200 ft) high cliff and mountain pass with a view of the windward side of Oahu. Among the numerous places of interest in Honolulu are Waikiki Aquarium; Foster Botanical Garden; Iolani Palace, which once was the royal palace; and the State Capitol. The Polynesian Cultural Center, at Laie on Oahu, includes replica villages of seven Polynesian peoples. Also near Honolulu is Sea Life Park, one of the largest exhibits of marine life in the world.
Many of Hawaii’s ceremonies, festivals, and religious events reflect the diverse origins of the state’s people. Starting in January or February is the Chinese New Year celebration, called the Narcissus Festival, in Honolulu. March marks the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival, also in Honolulu. March 26 is Kuhio Day, a state holiday created in honor of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, the second delegate to the Congress of the United States from Hawaii. Buddhists in Hawaii observe Wesak Day, the first Sunday in April, as the birthday of the Buddha. Lei Day, the first day of May, is dedicated to the lei as a symbol of Hawaii. The 50th State Fair is held in Honolulu for about two weeks late in spring. Kamehameha Day, on June 11, is observed throughout the state in honor of Kamehameha I, the king who united the islands.
In July and August, Bon dances are performed by Buddhists to honor their dead ancestors. On August 21, Hawaii celebrates Admission Day, the anniversary of becoming a U.S. state. The chief celebration in the fall is Aloha Festivals, which is held during September and October and features pageants, parades, boat races, hula festivals, and balls. Bodhi Day, the day the Buddha attained supreme enlightenment and solved the riddle of life, is celebrated in December. "Hawaii" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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