April 26, 2011

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

I have a hard time saying, "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii" without singing it.
As a kid, all I knew was May Day meant leis and a dance performance.
Every school in Hawaii puts on a dance festival of sorts for May Day.  In junior high and high school you even have a May Day Queen, King, and other royalty.   This thing is a big deal.

2nd Grade May Day program
 People don't just wear leis on May Day.  

Leaving for a trip to Washington D.C.
 Leis are given for so many different reasons.  One of my favorite memories is going to the lei stand on our way to the airport.  Whenever someone visits Hawaii, we greet them with a fresh lei and a kiss.  In the picture above, I was leaving with two of my teachers on a school trip.  We were sent off with leis and well wishes. The flower garland around my head is called a haku lei.

6th Grade May Day program
High School Graduation
 Any kind of graduation celebration calls for giving leis. From pre-school to beauty school there will be leis.  Really popular kids, or at least kids with lots of family, will have so many leis you can't even see their heads.  This is not a joke people. Leis are awesome

Our wedding reception in Hawaii
In this photo, Mike is wearing a maile lei.  This is an open ended lei made of fragrant smelling leaves.  It is more common for girls to give their prom date a maile lei than a boutonnière.  Guys usually give the girls a big bouquet of flowers and sometimes a lei too.  I didn't get my first wrist corsage until a couple of years ago at my sister's wedding reception here in Utah.

Leis are one of the special and unique things about Hawaii.  Giving a lei is the way we welcome people, show love, respect, appreciation, congratulations, or even farewell.  A lei is the symbol of the "Aloha Spirit."

Tropical flowers are pretty abundant in Hawaii, and not so much in Utah.  Check back tomorrow to see my favorite alternative to fresh flower leis.

Don't forget to hop over to see Simply Modern Mom.  Tiffany has a great flower lei alternative for your idle hands today!


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