Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Washington Place to host
Christmas tradition

The public is invited to an open house Sunday at Washington Place, formerly the governor's residence, for a free guided stroll as part of a 145-year-old tradition of celebrating Christmas at the historic home.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Christmas music and caroling will sound throughout the 156-year-old home during the open house.

Mary Dominis, widow of sea captain John Dominis, who built the mansion, started the tradition by bringing the first Christmas tree to the Hawaiian kingdom in 1858. On Christmas Eve she produced a Santa Claus who plucked fruits and gifts from the tree to give to about 100 children.

In 1862, the year Liliuokalani came to Washington Place as a new bride, King Kamehameha IV proclaimed Christmas a Hawaiian national holiday.

At the conclusion of the Christmas Eve service, the king joined clergy, a choir and a congregation in a torchlight procession through the streets of Honolulu to the palace, singing carols until the early hours of Christmas morning.

Washington Place, at 415 S. Beretania St., is normally open for free guided tours with reservations by calling 586-0240.


E-mail to City Desk


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