Lei Day is observed next on Monday, May 1st, 2023 (81 days from today).
Lei Day on May 1st celebrates Hawaiian culture, also known as the "Aloha spirit," represented by the lei, the traditional wreath or wreath that people wear as a necklace or on their heads.
If there's one thing about the tropics, and specifically Hawaii, it's the colorful and festive string of flowers known as Lei. Lei Day honors these traditional gifts for visitors to the islands and to raise awareness of the little details about it that are not immediately apparent to the average visitor. This celebration focuses on Hawaiian culture and aloha spirit. Whether you've been to the jewel of the Pacific Ocean or not, Lei Day is your chance to dream about the islands and plan a visit (or return!) to their verdant shores.
History of Lei Day
The Lei has played an important part in the history and culture of the native Hawaiians. Anyone who has been there or seen pictures of the islands knows that they are verdant and rich playgrounds full of colors and booming sounds that create a symphony of peace and relaxation. Each island has a flower to represent it, from the scarlet lehua from the Big Island, to the bright yellow Kauna'o from Lanai.
The year 1929 saw the founding of Lei Day, although celebrations of the event had begun 2 years earlier in 1927 at the Hawaiian bank, and eventually landed in Kapi'olani Park. Lei Day has a distinctive and unique style, with celebrations (sometimes gratifying) showcasing the mix of cultures that have called the archipelago home. Everything from musical traditions to dance styles is combined to create a wonderfully mixed culture whose core is none other than Hawaii.
There are concerns that the mixing of cultures across the islands will result in a loss of Hawaiian cultural identity as generations go on, and that national values will also decline. Lei Day pushes the boundaries of this conflict by celebrating Hawaiian culture and introducing others to it.
How to celebrate Lei Day
Lei Day is celebrated on all the islands of Hawai'i, with musical and hula performances, along with craft and lei exhibitions, lessons on Hawaiian song, hula dancing, lei making, weaving lauhala fabric and more.
A lot of people dress in “Aloha wear”, often brightly colored shirts and skirts with large floral prints and they wear fresh, fragrant, and colorful wreaths.
On May 2, at the Mauna Ala Royal Tomb in Nu'uanu, necklaces from the festivities were placed on the mausoleum of the ali'i (Hawaii royal) and also on the mausoleum of King Lunalilo at Kawaihao Church in Honolulu.
The custom of wearing necklaces was introduced to native Hawaiians by Polynesians visiting the islands, and each of the eight main Hawaiian archipelagos has a unique flower used in celebration.
In Hawai‘i, also known as the Big Island, they make necklaces from red pua lehua flowers from the ‘ōhi‘a tree. Maui's flower is the lokelani rose, also known as the Maui rose or the little rose. On the island of O‘ahu, the lei flower is called a golden yellow puailima, or ilima for short, while on Moloka‘i they make their necklace from a blue flower called kukui.
The smaller island of Lāna‘i is represented by a yellow flower called kauna‘o, while in Kahoolawe they wear necklaces made of hinahina which are silver-gray. Kauai's lei is the green mokihana berry, also known as alani or alani kuahiwi.
On the island of Ni‘ihau, they do not use flowers in their necklaces but made from sea shells called Pornu.
ObservedLei Day has been observed annually on May 1st.
Saturday, May 1st, 2021
Sunday, May 1st, 2022
Monday, May 1st, 2023
Wednesday, May 1st, 2024
Thursday, May 1st, 2025