Lei Day is observed on May 1st. A lei is a gorgeous string or necklace of tropical flowers, especially those from Hawaii. Lei Day commemorates the widespread practise of greeting visitors with leis. Each island is represented by a unique lei variant. The lei of Maui is composed of the pink lokilani rose. Whether you’ve been to the Pacific’s crown jewel or not, Lei Day is an opportunity to daydream about the islands and plan a voyage (or a return!) to the beautiful green coastlines of the islands. Food and live music are always a part of the celebrations on the islands, which are marked by large-scale events.
The background of Lei Day
Many believe that Mark Twain’s 1866 article in a San Francisco newspaper about the islands was the beginning of Hawaii’s tourism industry. As steamships began transporting visitors across the Pacific, lei vendors positioned themselves at Aloha Tower and sold leis to arriving guests at the boat terminal. Since that time, leis have become an integral part of every Hawaiian vacation. This holiday highlights the nuances of a custom that a casual tourist might otherwise overlook.
The lei has played a significant role in the history and culture of the native Hawaiian people. Anyone who has visited the islands or seen photographs of them is aware that they are verdant, colourful playgrounds that create a “symphony” of tranquilly and delight. From the brilliant scarlet lehua flower on the Big Island to the brilliant yellow Kauna’o flower on Lanai, each island is represented by a flower.
Lei Day was instituted in 1929, but celebrations began in 1927 at the Bank of Hawaii and moved to Kapi’olani Park the following year. The day has its own distinctive style, with (often contentious) celebrations emphasising the various cultures that have made the islands their home. Everything, from musical traditions to forms of dance, has been merged to create an extraordinary hybrid culture that is wholly Hawaiian.
Concerns have been expressed, however, that the merging of cultures across the islands may lead to the erosion of Hawaiian cultural identity and ethnic values as generations pass. Lei Day straddles the line of this contradiction by appreciating Hawaiian culture and presenting it to others.
LEI DAY ACTIVITIES
Give leis as presents
On Lei Day, give lei gifts to your family and acquaintances. This action is particularly respectful of Hawaiian culture, or the aloha spirit, which entails the unconditional imparting of warmth and affection to others.
Take part in the celebration.
Participate in the Lei Day celebrations, which include parades, ceremonies, and festivals. Numerous institutions participate in these events. In Honolulu, the Hawaiian lei is celebrated in a variety of methods. For example, one of the events involves islanders sharing their lei-making talents.
Observe a beauty contest
Observe young women compete for the title of “Lei Day Queen.” It is comparable to the Miss America competition.
5 FACTS REGARDING THE HAWAIIAN LEI
Leis were once given as gifts or regarded as symbols of affection and reverence for the Hawaiian spirits.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, when ships brought hundreds of visitors to the islands for the first time, the custom of greeting them with leis was created.
Teeth, bones, sticks, and kukui nuts were threaded together by ancient Hawaiians as body ornaments.
The majority of leis resemble fresh blossoms but are actually made of polyester and other colorfast materials.
It is uncouth to remove a lei in front of the person who gave it to you.
LEI DAY DATES