April 25, 2018

The first of May is an exciting day in Hawaii, where kama’aina (locals) celebrate Lei Day with concerts, parades and the making and giving of lei. I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter in her first Lei Day performance, as she’s been practicing a special hula that her class will unveil today in front of the whole school.

Lei Day became an official holiday in 1929, to honor the history and tradition of the floral garland that has become synonymous with Hawaii and the aloha spirit. While fresh flowers are the most traditional, you can now find or make lei out of carefully woven ribbon, yarn and other materials. Thank you, Etsy and YouTube!

Youngsters can create lei by cutting out flower shapes from paper, poking a hole in the middle and stringing them together with floss or string, alternating between paper flowers and cut-up drinking straws. For a thoughtful gift, select 8-12 small items for the recipient (think candy, nail polish or gift cards), lay them down evenly spaced out in netting or cellophane and enclose the items, then tie ribbon between each so they’re sectioned off. But as a high school and college graduate, my favorite lei were the ones with money folded into the shape of blossoms!

If you’re not in Hawaii, or can’t make or buy lei on May Day, don’t worry! Celebrate by simply wearing one of our floral shirts or dresses, listening to Hawaiian music, or organizing a luau party complete with Hawaiian food, drinks and decorations (link to blog post?). Whatever you do, have fun! As always, we’d love to see your photos, tag us @alohafunwear on Facebook and Instagram!

People wearing leis and playing with flowers

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