Today is May 1st,or May Day, but here in Hawaii we commonly refer to it as Lei Day! It is a day to honor the native Hawaiian culture and is celebrated by the giving of leis of aloha. This custom began as a way for the Hawaiian people to show love, honor, and respect. The Hawaiian Ali`i, or royalty, often wore feather leis. The traditional lei at wedding is a Maile lei. Each island even has its own particular lei associated with it. Oahu’s is the Ilima lei, made from the delicate yellow-orange flowers of the ilima. While Hawaiian flower leis are the most popular, such as tuberose, plumeria, and orchid, you will also find kukui nut and shell leis, as well as many new variations such as leis of money or candy.
In addition to the giving of leis, there may be Lei Day Parades where you can see floats, local celebrities, and pa`u riders, all decked out in glorious leis! Some schools hold celebrations also, where Hawaiian music and dance are enjoyed and a Lei Day King, Queen, and court are chosen. If you are enjoying a visit here on the North Shore, take part in a Hawaiian tradition and give a little aloha to someone special. Celebrate Lei Day by the giving of a lei, and don’t be surprised if you get one in return! For directions on how to make your own lei go to http://www.hawaiiflowerlei.com/makealei.aspx