May 1st is Lei Day in Hawai’i. Pronounced “Lay”.
A wreath of flowers strung together using a long needle on dental floss, worn as a head Lei, on a hat or over the head on the shoulders. Often given to airport arrivals, birthdays and weddings with a hug and kiss. These are made by Hawai’is legend Aunty Maile a descendant of the Ali‘i Alapa‘i family.
In older times colorful feathers were pulled from live birds to make spectacular looking Leis, but took a long time to collect, so only the Hawaiian Royalty got those. Many are preserved today in the Bishop museum in Honolulu where the lost art and ancient traditions are practiced today.
Once you have been gifted a Lei you should never re-give it or throw it away, this is considered bad bad manners. Some folks make offerings by throwing them in the ocean. Also a bad idea as it can negatively affect marine life like Honu (turtles).
Better to put a Lei on your dashboard as you cruise the Big Island of Hawai’i, makes the car smell plenty good.
Happy Lei Day!
We pray this tradition will return soon.