Lei Day is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and tradition that takes place every year on May 1st. This special day is all about honoring the beautiful and iconic symbol of Hawaiian hospitality, the lei. The lei is a necklace made from various types of flowers, shells, and other natural materials that are strung together to create a colorful and fragrant garland. Lei Day is an important event in Hawaii, and it has a deep cultural significance from a native Hawaiian perspective.
History of Lei Day
Lei Day was first celebrated in 1928 by a group of Honolulu residents who wanted to promote the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. May 1st was chosen as Lei Day because it is also the day when May Day is celebrated in many parts of the world. The first Lei Day celebration included a parade, music, hula, and lei-making contests, and it was a huge success.
The cultural significance of Lei Day
From a native Hawaiian perspective, the lei is much more than just a beautiful necklace. It is a symbol of love, respect, and aloha (the Hawaiian word for love, compassion, and kindness). The giving and receiving of lei is a way of expressing these values, and it is a cherished tradition in Hawaiian culture. Lei are often given to visitors as a way of welcoming them to the islands, and they are also used to honor special occasions like graduations, weddings, and funerals.
Lei for each island
Each island in Hawaii has its own unique lei that is associated with its culture and traditions. Here is a list of each island and a description of its lei:
Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island): The lei for Hawaii Island is made from maile, a fragrant leaf that is traditionally used for lei-making. Maile lei are often
given to men and are associated with the warrior spirit.
Maui: The lei for Maui is made from lokelani, the pink cottage rose that is native to the island. This beautiful flower is also known as the rose of heaven and is associated with love and romance.
Oahu: The lei for Oahu is made from ilima, a yellow flower that is native to the island. Ilima lei are often given to women and are associated with beauty and grace.
Kauai: The lei for Kauai is made from mokihana, a small green berry that is native to the island. Mokihana lei are often given as a symbol of friendship and are also associated with good luck.
Molokai: The lei for Molokai is made from kukui, the candlenut tree that is native to the island. Kukui lei are often given as a symbol of enlightenment and are also associated with protection.
Lanai: The lei for Lanai is made from kauna'oa, a yellow vine that is native to the island. Kauna'oa lei are often given as a symbol of unity and are associated with the strong community spirit on the island.
Niihau: The lei for Niihau is made from tiny shells that are found on the island's beaches. Niihau shell lei are highly prized and are often given as a symbol of respect and honor.
Types of Lei and their uses
There are many different types of lei that can be made using a wide variety of materials such as flowers, leaves, shells, and feathers. The type of lei that is made depends on the occasion, the intended recipient, and the availability of materials. Here are some of the most popular types of lei in Hawaii:
Maile Lei: Made from the fragrant leaves of the maile plant, this lei is often given to men and is associated with the warrior spirit.
Haku Lei: This type of lei is made by braiding flowers and leaves together to create a crown-like design that is often worn on the head.
Orchid Lei: Made from the delicate and colorful blooms of orchid flowers, this lei is often given to women and is associated with beauty and grace.
Ti Leaf Lei: Made from the long, sturdy leaves of the ti plant, this lei is often given for good luck and is also used in hula dancing.
Kukui Nut Lei: Made from the smooth, round nuts of the kukui tree, this lei is often given as a symbol of enlightenment and is associated with protection.
Plumeria Lei: Made from the fragrant and colorful flowers of the plumeria tree, this lei is often given as a symbol of friendship and is associated with the sweet fragrance of Hawaii.
These are just a few examples of the many types of lei that can be found in Hawaii. Each type of lei has its own unique meaning and significance, and they are all a cherished part of Hawaiian culture and tradition.
Lei Day is an important celebration of Hawaiian culture and tradition, and the lei is a beloved symbol of aloha and hospitality. Each island in Hawaii has its own unique lei that reflects its culture and traditions, and the giving and receiving of lei is a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations. So, if you ever visit Hawaii, don't forget to wear a lei and share in this special celebration of love and kindness.
As a proud member of the Hawaiian community, we at Sweet Aloha Ice Cream are thrilled to celebrate Lei Day and honor the rich cultural heritage of our islands. To mark this special occasion, we are hosting a Candy Lei Making Learning Session on April 30th and a Lei Day contest on May 1st in our store and inviting customers to participate. Come visit us and learn and show off your lei-making skills by creating a beautiful and unique lei. We will be awarding prizes to the most creative and stunning entries, and we can't wait to see what our customers come up with. So, stop by Sweet Aloha Ice Cream on May 1st from 6:00 - 8:00 pm and join us in celebrating the beauty and aloha of Lei Day!