"May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i... Garlands of flowers everywhere...All of the colors of the Rainbow..." (Red Hawke, 1928)
With the May Day spirit of honoring Flora, the goddess of flowers with maypole dancing and festivals, May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.
On this special day, beautiful leis are made, worn, given, displayed, and entered in lei-making contests. Orchids... plumerias... carnations... tubarose... ilima.. brilliant colors and fragrant garlands of love, friendship, and aloha.
The first Lei Day in Hawaii was held on this day in 1928 and the Honolulu Star Bulletin reported, "Lei Day recaptured the old spirit of the islands (a love of color and flowers, fragrance, laughter, and aloha." The celebration was made an official territorial holiday the following year.
Today, at Waikiki's Kapiolani Park, the Department of Parks and Recreation will sponsor its annual lei making contest. The most popular way to make a lei is kui, or stringing method, with the flower or leaf pierced in the center with a needle and thread.
Other methods include hili (braided with one material), haku (braided with two or more materials), humu papa (fern and flowers sewn onto a backing), and wili (fern and flowers tied onto a backing).
Tonight the popular Hawaiian singing duo, the Brothers Cazimero, will mark another Lei Day concert at the Waikiki Shell, a tradition since 1977. "Make a lei, wear a lei, give a lei" has been one of their shared mottos.
Lei Day, a celebration of life with hula and song, is dedicated to the lei as a symbol of Hawaiian beauty and culture. With the spirit and special blessings of Aloha, the giving of a lei, accompanied by a kiss on the cheek, speaks of the island philosophy of kindness and love.
A lei given sings of special relationships, deep feelings and emotions. A necklace of flowers that vibrate welcome, a precious thank you, and a magical gift from the heart.
More HAWAII Quotations | Song: May Day, Kapiolani Park 2009
Start May with the spirit of Aloha in your heart.