Hawaiian Lei Day
“May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.” This phrase is incredibly popular in Hawaii as it is used as a reminder for Lei Day, a state holiday that the island nation of Hawaii celebrates every year on May 1st, instead of celebrating May Day.
Lei Day celebrates Hawaii’s famous fresh flower leis that are used to mark all sorts of celebrations, from school graduations to weddings, and were traditionally used as a sign of peace between tribes.
Lei Day starts on the morning on May 1st and continues throughout the day and into the next day as well; it is one of Hawaii’s most celebrated and popular annual holidays.
How did Lei Day originate?
Lei Day can be traced back to the late 1920s when Don Blanding, a poet and writer, wrote an article for a local newspaper that suggested there should be a day that allows Hawaiians to celebrate the leis that they are famous for. The idea was that the holiday should celebrate the custom of making and wearing a lei to celebrate all sorts of different occasions.
Although Don Blanding came up with the idea of celebrating the lei, it was Grace Tower Warren, another writer, who suggested that the holiday should coincide with May Day. She is also the one who came up with the famous phrase “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii”, that is still used today.
The first Lei Day was held on May 1st in 1928 in Honolulu, with everyone encouraged to wear leis and take part in the celebrations. In downtown Honolulu, celebrations were held with leis and flowers covering every surface, from felt hats to cars. It was said that the celebrations captured the old spirit of Hawaii – a love of flowers, bright colors, and laughter. The year later, Lei Day was made an official holiday and has been celebrated every year since, with the exception of the years during the Second World War.
How is Lei Day celebrated?
Today, Lei Day is celebrated across Hawaii with the largest Lei Day event being held in Oahu. The celebrations take place in Queen Kapiolani Park in Waikiki, featuring lots of live music, hula dancing, lei making, demonstrations, delicious foods, crafts, and much more. A lei making queen is also crowned to watch over the celebrations.
Across Hawaii, other smaller celebrations are also held, such as in different towns and villages, as well as in schools. These celebrations are similar to the ones held in Oahu but smaller, they still incorporate lei making, music, dancing, food, the crowning of a lei queen and sometimes a lei king as well.
What are the different types of leis?
There are lots of different leis as each of the major Hawaiian islands has its own distinct lei. A lot of people in Hawaii don’t like to say “I love you,” so instead they give a lei to their loved ones, conveying their feelings.
In the main island of Hawaii, a lehua lei is given. This lei is made of the blossoms from a lehua tree, and are normally red, and sometimes yellow, orange or white.
The people of Kauai give a mokihana lei, which is a lei made of purplish berries that are native to the island. These berries are strong and woven with maile, they have a strong smell and stay fresh for longer than more other berries.
In Kaho’olawe, hinahina leis are given. These beautiful leis are made of the hinahina stems and flowers that are silver gray in color and found on the island’s beaches.
The people of Lanai make and give kaunaoa leis. These leis are made from orange-colored strands that are woven together to create bright, beautiful leis.
In Maui, leis are made from the lokelani, a pink rose known as the ‘rose of heaven.’ It has a sweet floral smell and is incredibly delicate.
Those are just a few of the leis that the Hawaiian islands are famous for, there are also many others, including some made from fruit, nuts, and vine, as well as fresh flowers, most often loose orchid blooms.
What are the lei giving etiquettes and customs?
In Hawaii, being given a lei as a gift is seen as a great honor, so if you are given one, you must not take it off in the presence of the person who gave it to you, or it’s considered rude. It’s important to thank the person that gave you the lei and show gratitude for it.
Traditionally, the chiefs of tribes on the Hawaiian islands would give leis as a sign of peace and respect to other tribal chiefs. Which is why they are still given to visitors today, as well as being used to mark celebrations like weddings and births.
When most people hear the words “Destination Wedding in Hawaii,” the natural reaction is excitement. Who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii? For the couple getting married, stress follows excitement when they realize how much they need to accomplish from a distance.
Luckily, Hawaii hosts a lot of destination weddings, which means there are resources available to manage everything you need from wherever you call home. Many companies will plan and do everything for you, for the right price. While that may sound tempting and perhaps even ideal, remember that such a plan means that someone else is making a lot of the decisions about your wedding. While they may allow you to choose from various options, keep in mind that they have chosen the options from which you get to choose.
There are also companies that will provide just the level of support you desire. This type of company allows you to retain control over those elements that are most important to you, while allowing them to take care of things such as your Right-of-Entry Permit that will make it legal for you to get married on a beach. While each person will have different things that matter most to them, most people tend to care about location, their flowers, and the gifts they provide to members of the wedding and their guests. When it comes to those items, most people want more than a couple of choices. They also want everything to feel distinctly Hawaiian.
That’s where we come in. When you’re ready to choose your beautiful and distinctive leis and corsages, our selection will allow you to express yourself in the most Hawaiian of ways. What’s more, you can continue to express yourself, and provide a lasting memory, by selecting gifts for your wedding party that will remind them of your wedding in paradise for years to come.
If you’re ready to add the right touches to your Hawaiian wedding, contact us.
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The orchid is traditionally a symbol of beauty and love, strength, luxury, fertility, and power. And it is no wonder, with its long stem and exotic brightly colored bloom. The orchid is easily distinguishable and indefinitely elegant—always a well-received gift.
The orchid was not always simply a gift to be given or even purely decorative though. In fact, it has had many uses beyond the ornamental throughout history. In China, the orchid has been used medicinally for centuries, specifically to treat lung and stomach cancers. In ancient Greece and Aztec cultures, the orchid was considered to give strength and the vanilla flavor would be extracted and then ingested in order to gain strength. Yet, in American society, the flower is generally a gift of thought whether for thankfulness, sympathy, or congratulations.
Hawaiian orchids are especially bright and cheerful while still portraying the same elegance and luxury as any other orchid. As with many other flowers, the varying colors of the orchid each hold a specific underlying meaning. Color should be considered before giving an orchid.
Red is a passionate color, usually reserved for romantic love. Pink is also a romantic color, or a color of friendship. Dark red is a color of leadership and courage. Orange generates enthusiasm, creativity, and success. Yellow is a color of joy and energy. Green radiates growth, stability, and healing. Blue is for loyalty, wisdom, and tranquility. Purple is a color used for wisdom, dignity, and mystery. White is a color of purity, and brown is a color of stability and clear thinking.
Contact us for information on the types of Hawaiian orchids that we provide and let us help you decide what would be best for you.
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Candy Lei Kits
Hawaiian flower leis are lovely but for keiki (kids) it is more about FUN! As the school year ends many celebrate children moving to the next grade with a ‘graduation’ of their own.
For a fun, safe and easy party our candy lei kits bring a Hawaiian touch to your event. Kits come in an assortment of designs and colors. Each kit makes 5 leis. Just use your favorite wrapped candy. Use 20 pieces of candy for each lei.
The kits are made from a printed, strong cello tube. Color ties are included so all your little students have to do is slide the candy inside and tie between each piece. The lei is then tied to close. Simple and fun.
Candy lei kits also make a great birthday party theme.
We have some new designs this year (shown below) and have added them to our web site. In addition to our traditional hibiscus color themes we now have a maile design that resembles the Hawaiian vine worn in graduation ceremonies.
The second new design is the ‘kapa’ or ‘tapa’ design, derived from traditional Hawaiian printing and paper making. And of course we’ve added pineapple, a Hawaiian favorite and favorite of kids as well.