Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii`garlands of flowers everywhere,All of the colors in the rainbow Maidens with blossoms in their hair Flowers that mean we should be happy,Throwing aside a load of care,Oh, May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii`iLei Day is happy day out there."

The History of Lei Day The idea of designating a special day to celebrate and recognize the custom of giving and receiving lei was first presented by poet and Honolulu Star Bulletin writer Don Blanding in 1927. He and columnist Grace Tower Warren decided the event should be on May 1st and they introduced the phrase "May Day is Lei Day". That phrase inspired Leonard and Ruth Hawk to write a song called "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii" which is still played at every Lei Day celebration in Hawaii.

Lei Day Today On May 1st, nearly everyone in Hawaii wears a flower lei, from children in school to executives at Hawaii's top corporations. "Lei Day" has been celebrated since 1927, and it is a huge celebration in Hawaii. Special events on Lei Day include crowning a Lei Day Queen, adult and children's lei making contests, lei exhibits and workshops, and concerts

According to Harry B. Soria, the celebration of May 1 as Lei Day was invented in 1927 by island artist, writer Donald Benson Blanding and Grace Tower Warren. Don Blanding is also credited with the invention of the custom of tossing your lei overboard when you sailed from Honolulu. If the lei came back to shore (and most did) it supposedly meant you would return.”

“For those blessed with a childhood in Hawaii`i, there was no finer or more festive day of Hawaiian celebration. The May Day Pageant, held at the school, was a far bigger event than the Christmas Program, which came in second, a distant second. May Day was not, and still is not, an official Hawaiian holiday, but everyone took off work anyway, whether they had kids in school or not. It was a day that drew us together like a powerful magnet. We came together as a community in celebration and remembrance of our cultural heritage and diversity.

I remember how you wanted to make "court" that is the royal court that comes out from each island at the start of the May Day program....Each prince and princess representing each individual island and each wearing the official colors of the island and flower.....then each class...from kindergarten on up would do a performance and perform to the royal court.......the May Day Maple Pole- Hula- singing a few songs- Japanese Kabuki-- you name it it was was all so cool to your senses...the colors... the performances....the smell......this is where I fell in love with the flower Pikake as the queen would wear this......Oh such fond fond memories....I can smell the maile lei on my neck now....I made court in 6th grade...Prince of Niihau...My parents were so proud...

I miss Hawaii big time on days likes today even more.....


A Lewis said...

What a nice tribute to rich heritage and beautiful leis!

Mark in DE said...

Happy Lei Day!!