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Celebrating Hawaiian Culture: Lei Day and the Beauty of the Hawaiian Lei

Celebrating Hawaiian Culture: Lei Day and the Beauty of the Hawaiian Lei

Lei Day is a culturally significant event in Hawaii that is celebrated annually on May 1st to honor the iconic symbol of the Hawaiian lei. The celebration involves locals dressed in aloha attire, crafting, and wearing lei made from tropical flowers. Here's an in-depth read about the history of Lei Day, including fun facts and interesting tidbits that even locals might not know.

The tradition of celebrating Lei Day dates back to the early 20th century when a writer and poet named Don Blanding proposed the idea of a holiday that would honor the beauty and cultural significance of the Hawaiian lei . Blanding was a lover of Hawaii's natural beauty and was inspired by the islands' breathtaking landscapes and colorful flora. He suggested that May Day should be designated as Lei Day, as it would coincide with the blossoming of Hawaii's many native flowers, making it the perfect time to celebrate the lei.

The first Lei Day celebration took place on May 1st, 1928, and it was an instant success, with thousands of people joining in the festivities. The celebration initially took place in the courts and town halls but was later moved to Kapi'olani Park, where it is still held today.

One interesting fact about Lei Day is that each Hawaiian island has its own designated flower that represents the island. For example, the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, has the red blossom of the Ohia tree, called the Lehua blossom, as its flower. Other islands have different designated flowers, such as the yellow ilima flower for Oahu and the purple mokihana berry for Kauai.

Another fun fact about Lei Day is that the custom of giving and receiving lei goes beyond just the Hawaiian culture. It is a custom that has been adopted by other Polynesian cultures, such as the Tahitian, Samoan, and Maori people. The lei symbolizes love, respect, and aloha spirit, and it is given as a token of appreciation, friendship, and celebration.

Lei Day is a beloved celebration of Hawaiian culture and the beauty of the Hawaiian lei. The holiday's history dates back to the early 20th century, and it has since become an integral part of Hawaiian culture. The different designated flowers for each island and the lei's adoption by other Polynesian cultures add to the richness and diversity of the tradition.

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