From DIY Lei-Making to Hula-Hooping: Lei Day Has Never Been More Laid-Back (or Lei’d-Back)
Aloha! It’s time to get lei’d and celebrate the beauty and tradition of Hawaiian culture with Lei Day!
Whether you’re in Hawaii or just looking to add some tropical flair to your day, there are plenty of hilarious ways to join in on the fun. From making your own leis to attending a hula performance, Lei Day is about spreading the aloha spirit and having a good time.
So, grab your grass skirt and coconut bra, get ready to lei-back, and enjoy the festivities!
Here are some ideas for how to celebrate Lei Day:
- Make your own lei: Purchase fresh flowers and make your own lei using traditional techniques.
- Participate in a lei-making workshop: Many communities and organizations host workshops where you can learn about lei-making techniques and create your own lei.
- Attend a Lei Day festival: Hawaiian communities host festivals that include live music, hula performances, food, and lei-making demonstrations.
- Wear a lei: On Lei Day, it’s customary to wear a lei as a symbol of aloha (love and affection).
- Host a lei-making party: Invite friends and family to make leis together. Provide materials and instructions so everyone can create their own unique lei.
- Donate leis to a hospital or nursing home: Spread the aloha spirit by donating leis to those who may feel lonely or need cheering.
- Learn about the history and significance of leis: Take some time to learn about the cultural importance of leis and the traditions surrounding Lei Day.
- Attend a hula performance: Many hula performances take place and watching a performance can be a great way to appreciate the artistry and beauty of Hawaiian culture.
TIP: Don’t forget about a lei or two for your furry-family members. They enjoy a little celebration of Aloha, too.
Leis can be made for around your neck or as a headpiece. If you’re throwing a party, and need decor, head to your favorite party store and stock up on plastic leis, tiki kitsch and Hawaiian back drops for a selfie-station.
Did you know?
Besides being celebrated in Hawaii, Lei Day is also recognized in other parts of the world with ties to Hawaiian culture. For example, in Japan, a group called the “Nihon Lei Day Association” hosts holiday events and promotes the tradition of lei-making.
Similarly, in California, annual Lei Day celebrations in cities such as San Diego and Santa Cruz feature Hawaiian music, dance performances, and lei-making workshops. This shows how the tradition of this aloha holiday has spread beyond Hawaii and become a part of the larger global community that values Hawaiian culture and traditions.
A little history:
Hawaiian Lei Day is a holiday that celebrates the tradition of giving and receiving leis, which are floral garlands that are often worn around the neck or given as a gift in Hawaiian culture.
The holiday has its roots in ancient Hawaiian customs, where leis were worn to signify status, celebrate important events, and honor the gods.
Over time, giving leis became a symbol of aloha, or love and affection, and it became customary to give leis as a greeting, farewell, or appreciation gesture.
In 1929, the concept of Hawaiian Lei Day was introduced by Don Blanding, a writer and poet living in Honolulu at the time. Blanding suggested that May 1st be designated Lei Day, and the community enthusiastically embraced the idea.
The first official Lei Day celebration took place on May 1st, 1929, including a parade, music, hula dancing, and lei-making contests.
Over the years, the holiday has become essential to Hawaiian culture and tradition. Today, it is celebrated throughout Hawaii with festivals, parades, concerts, and other events that showcase the beauty and significance of leis.
The holiday is a time to honor the Hawaiian culture and history of the islands and to celebrate the spirit of aloha that is embodied in the giving and receiving of leis.