Lei Day

Next Wednesday, 1 May 2024

Lei Day, also popularly known as "Hawaiian May Day" is a celebration of Hawaiian culture that happens every year on May 1. Festivities begin on the morning of the first day of May and continue into the next day.

Lei Day is a major celebration in Hawaii, but it is not a public holiday. Schools and businesses remain open.

lei day

Lei Day History

Lei Day was first celebrated on May 1, 1927, on the bank of Hawaii. Commemorations eventually moved to the town hall, until they were settled in Kapi'olani Park.

Don Blanding, a Hawaiian writer, and poet wrote in a local newspaper that a holiday to celebrate leis should be created, in 1928. Eventually, in 1929, Lei Day was made an official holiday to be commemorated in the state of Hawaii.

May 1 was selected because it marked the arrival of spring when flowers bloom and flowers are an important component in making leis. With time, more people joined in on the celebration on May 1st giving rise to the quote “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.”

The Meaning of the Lei

Lei is a type of wreath, garland, or a string of objects tied together that is meant to be worn.

The lei is meant to be a non-verbal representation of aloha, the Hawaiian word for love, peace, friendship, passion, mercy, and compassion. A Lei is used during many occasions such as weddings, graduation ceremonies, school dances, and farewells.

Each island in Hawaii has its own flowers and vegetation. This means that each island also has its specific lei, made of different flowers and colors. Some islands are known for their fruit as opposed to their flowers, so their leis are made of fruit.

To celebrate Lei Day and the aloha spirit, people gift each other leis.

Lei Day Celebration

Lei Day is a big celebration in Hawaii, marked by parades, festivals, and ceremonies across all islands. Festivities include hula dancing shows, lei exhibitions, and other displays of Hawaiian culture.

  • Lei-making competitions are held where participants need to make beautiful leis using flowers, shells, leaves, and so on.
  • Schools play a big part in the holiday, with students performing Hawaiian dance shows for the school and the community. Workshops on the history of Lei Day are also organized.
  • As a display of the aloha spirit, people wear clothes that are bright and colorful, usually with big flowery prints to match their leis.
  • On Lei Day, famous events, such as the "Lei Day Queen'' pageant are also held where it is an honor to be crowned the queen.

In Kapi'olani Park, dozens of leis are exhibited, and the Lei Day Queen is in charge of choosing the most beautiful lei.

On Hawaii Island, there is the yearly Hilo Lei Day Festival, featuring music and special guests.

Lei Day
Lei Day

Lei Day - Next years

Thursday, 01 May 2025

Friday, 01 May 2026

Saturday, 01 May 2027

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