Lei Day in Hawai‘i is a state-wide holiday that carries cultural significance throughout the islands. This holiday serves as a day for those living in the Islands to commemorate Hawai‘i’s rich and colorful history, and is also a day that invites those who have moved to Hawai‘i and those who visit to join in to celebrate Hawai‘i’s heritage. Hula dances and lei ceremonies can be found at larger ceremonies, such as the celebration at Kapi‘olani Park in Honolulu, or in smaller communities throughout the Islands, such as at elementary and middle schools; but one sentiment remains strong—that of Hawaiian pride and the “spirit of aloha,” a feeling that encompasses greetings, farewells, hope, joy, and love. The giving of the lei is an opportunity to pass an unspoken expression of aloha between the giver of the lei and the receiver.
The first Lei Day was held on May 1, 1928 after Don Blanding made the suggestion, in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1927, to create a uniquely Hawaiian holiday that everyone could celebrate. But, it was his fellow writer, Grace Tower Warren, who came up with the idea for a holiday to coincide with May Day. She is also responsible for the slogan, “May Day is Lei Day.” Lei Day became an official holiday in 1929. This tradition is still celebrated today with lei-making competitions, hula and singing concerts, and the giving of and receiving of lei between friends and family.
Those of us here at Luxe Travel Hawai‘i will be celebrating; will you? Join us in spreading the spirit of aloha by giving a lei to a loved one! Remember, “May Day is Lei Day!”