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Hawaiian Lei Day

May 01, 2014

In 1928 a poet named Don Blanding suggested there should be a holiday honoring the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. As a result, May 1st became Lei Day. If you’re ever on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu on May 1st, you'll get to experience this Hawaiian holiday first-hand!

May Day is Lei Day

The first Lei Day was held on May 1st, 1928. Everyone in Honolulu was encouraged to wear lei. Festivities were held downtown with hula, music, lei-making demonstrations and exhibits and lei-making contests.

Today on O`ahu, Lei Day festivities are centered in Queen Kapi`olani Park in Waikiki. Many celebrations are also held at local elementary schools, involving the crowning of Lei Day kings, queens and princesses. Festivals and celebrations also happen on all the major Hawaiian islands.

Make Your Own Hawaiian Lei

A flower lei is known worldwide as a symbol of the aloha spirit! Whether for love, friendship or good luck, these colorful, fragrant flowers are used for graduations, weddings, birthdays, and many other celebrations. Here’s how to make a traditional Hawaiian flower lei out of paper:

  1. Cut a piece of yarn long enough to hand loosely around your neck (make sure you cut a little bit longer so there’s room to tie the ends together).
  2. Get some colorful drinking straws and cut them into inch-long pieces.
  3. Cut as many flower shapes out of colored construction paper as you want. They can be all different shapes and sizes.
  4. Use a hole puncher to punch holes in the middle of every flower shape you cut out.
  5. Tie one piece of the cut-up straw onto the end of the yarn.
  6. Start stringing your flowers and straw pieces onto the yarn, alternating between flowers and straws.
  7. When you’re done, tie the two ends of the yarn together and put your lei around your neck! Aloha!
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