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Hawaii: Oahu's stirring Easter backdrop

March 15, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific will hold its annual Easter sunrise service.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific will hold its annual Easter sunrise… (Hawaii Tourism Authority )

Amid stirring surroundings and breathtaking views, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu will hold its annual Easter sunrise service March 31. It’s one of a variety of Easter weekend activities –  religious and secular – on Oahu.

The military park, located on 116 acres inside the crater of the now extinct Punchbowl volcano, is the final resting place of more than 13,000 American soldiers and sailors who died during World War II.

Roughly 5 million visitors a year come to the cemetery to pay their respects and to enjoy the inspiring views from the rim of the crater.

This year marks the 113th year for the nondenominational sunrise service. The gates to the cemetery (2177 Puowaina Drive, Honolulu, [808] 532-3720) will open at 4:30 a.m., with the service scheduled to begin at 6:15 a.m. Guests will be treated to music by the Royal Hawaiian Band, founded in 1836 by King Kamehameha III.

A second, nondenominational service, the Easter Sunrise Celebration by the Beach, will start at 6:30 a.m. at the Waikiki Hula Mound, near the Duke Kahanamoku Statue. Sponsored by Ekolu Mea Nui Ministries, the service will be followed by water baptisms.

In West Oahu, the weekend begins with a Saturday morning Easter egg hunt at Kapolei Commons shopping center (4450 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei). More than 4,000 prize-filled eggs will be hidden, with three hunts by  keiki (children): 10:30 a.m. for ages 1 to 3, 11 a.m. for ages 4 to 7 and 11:30 for ages 8 to 12. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance.

Many Oahu hotels also have special activities, such as egg hunts and parades, planned. The concierge desks at most resorts can provide further information.

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