The History of “Aloha Friday”

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We have all heard the phrase “Aloha Friday” out here in Hawaii, but have you ever asked yourself where it came from? Today I decided to find out and share the knowledge with you. It is well known that aloha Friday is the last work day of the week, however did you know that aloha Friday started the worldwide phenomenon of casual Friday? We will get to that but first lets go back in time and see how it all began.

The city and county of Honolulu used to allow their workers to wear casual sports shirts during the summer months in 1946. These were the warmest months during the year and it allowed for the employees to be comfortable while working. Then in 1962 the Hawaiian Fashion Guild began promoting the wearing of aloha attire in the workplace, particularly as business attire. So in the early 1960′s, fashion designers began designing the aloha shirt with subdued colors and patterns. So the Hawaiian Fashion Guild began a campaign called “Operation Liberation”. They then distributed two aloha shirts to every member of the Hawaii House of Representatives and the Hawaii Senate. Soon after that a resolution was passed in the Senate that recommended aloha attire be worn throughout the summer, starting on Lei Day. 

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When the resolution passed it became a common practice for employees to wear aloha shirts on the last workday of the week. Aloha Friday officially began in 1966, and by the 1970′s here in Hawaii it was an accepted practice to wear an aloha shirt every day of the week as business attire. As the popularity continued to grow, businesses located on the mainland started to take notice and eventually adopted the practice. As it spread around the globe, it was called “casual” Friday and people would be allowed to dress down on the last workday before the weekend. Today the practice continues and it allows people to get in the mood for the weekend.

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A local musician took notice of this phenomenon and recorded a catchy tune in 1982. Whats the name of that tune you ask? Why it’s “It’s Aloha Friday, No Work Til Monday”, and was recorded by Kimo Kahoano. You can hear it playing on almost every radio station in Hawaii on a Friday morning. Since then it has long been considered Hawaii’s version of “Thank God It’s Friday”, TGIF.

Written by James Bredeson