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Lei Day

Get ready to celebrate the beauty and culture of Hawaii on Lei Day - don't forget to wear a beautiful lei and join in on the festivities!
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When it is?
May 1
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Category
Cultural
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Country
International
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Founded
Introduction

Get ready to celebrate the beautiful and vibrant Hawaiian culture on May 1st, also known as Lei Day! This annual celebration originated in 1927 by poet and writer Don Blanding as a way to honor the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei garlands. The tradition has since spread beyond Hawaii and is now celebrated in many different parts of the world. Not only is this day a fun way to learn about Hawaiian traditions, but it's also a great opportunity to spread love and kindness through the giving of lei. So put on your most colorful outfit, grab some flowers, and join in on the festivities!

History of Lei Day

Lei Day Dates

Lei Day Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1927</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Lei Day Inception</div><div class='timeline-text'>Poet and local journalist Don Blanding proposes the idea of celebrating a holiday dedicated to the beautiful Hawaiian tradition of lei-making.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1928</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Official Lei Day</div><div class='timeline-text'>The first official Lei Day is celebrated in Honolulu, featuring music, hula performances, lei making demonstrations, and contests.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1929</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Lei Queen Tradition Begins</div><div class='timeline-text'>The tradition of selecting a Lei Day Queen and court, a main feature of Lei Day festivities, is initiated to symbolize the spirit of aloha.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1931</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Statewide Recognition</div><div class='timeline-text'>Lei Day becomes a recognized holiday across all islands in the state of Hawaii, expanding the celebrations beyond Honolulu.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1988</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii</div><div class='timeline-text'>The Hawaiian song "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii" becomes associated with the holiday, promoting further awareness and celebration.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2000s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Global Celebration</div><div class='timeline-text'>Lei Day celebrations extend globally, reflecting the broad influence of Hawaiian culture and the universal symbol of love and friendship that a lei represents.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Lei Day

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Make your own lei</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Gather some fresh flowers and create your own beautiful lei to wear or give as a gift. There are many tutorials available online to help you make different styles and designs.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend a lei-making workshop</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Check with your local community center or Hawaiian cultural center to see if they are offering any lei-making workshops. This can be a fun and educational way to celebrate Lei Day.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Host a Hawaiian luau</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Gather your friends and family for a traditional Hawaiian luau, complete with hula dancing, Hawaiian food, and of course, leis! This is a great way to celebrate the culture and spirit of Lei Day.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Visit a botanical garden</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Take a trip to a local botanical garden and admire all the beautiful flowers and plants used to make leis. This can be a peaceful and relaxing way to celebrate the day.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Learn about Hawaiian culture</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Take some time to read about the history and traditions of Lei Day and the importance of leis in Hawaiian culture. This can deepen your appreciation for the holiday and its significance.</p></div></div>

Why We Love Lei Day

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a celebration of Hawaiian culture</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Lei Day is a special day in Hawaii to honor and appreciate the traditions, customs, and people of the islands. It's a perfect time to learn more about the rich history and unique culture of Hawaii!</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a symbol of love and friendship</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>In Hawaii, leis are given as a symbol of affection, gratitude, and hospitality. On Lei Day, you can show your appreciation for loved ones by giving them a lei or even making one yourself - it's a wonderful gesture that will surely make someone feel special.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's an opportunity to embrace nature and creativity</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Traditionally, leis are made from flowers, leaves, shells, and other natural materials found on the islands. Celebrating Lei Day means getting in touch with nature and creating something beautiful and unique with your hands - and there are endless possibilities for designs and colors!</p></div></div>

5 Intriguing Facts You'll Love on Lei Day

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Lei Day Coincides with International Workers' Day</h3><p class='facts-content'>Interestingly, Lei Day coincides with International Workers' Day or May Day. This holiday aimed at promoting workers' rights began far from the shores of Hawaii. However, in Hawaii, the focus is on celebrating native culture and not labor movement protests.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Each Island has Its Own Specific Lei</h3><p class='facts-content'>In Hawaii, each island is represented by a specific lei made from a unique material. For instance, the island of Hawaii is represented by the lehua lei, made from blossoms of the 'ōhi'a tree.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Leis are Worn Differently for Different Occasions</h3><p class='facts-content'>The method of wearing a lei depends on the occasion. For weddings, it's traditional for Hawaiian brides to wear three leis: a choker-style lei, a longer lei draped around the neck, and a head lei or haku.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Lei Day has a Signature Song</h3><p class='facts-content'>A song titled "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii" was written in 1927 by Leonard "Red" and Ruth Hawk. It has since become the signature song for this Hawaiian holiday.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>There are Rules Around Giving and Receiving Leis</h3><p class='facts-content'>Hawaiian tradition dictates certain rules around giving and receiving leis. For example, it is considered rude to refuse a lei, remove it in front of the person who gave it to you, or give a closed lei to a pregnant woman as it symbolizes a closed umbilical cord.</p></div></div>

Lei Day FAQs

When is Lei Day?

Lei Day is celebrated on May 1 every year. In 2024, Lei Day will occur on a Wednesday.

Lei Day Dates

Year
Date
Day

2023

May 1

Monday

2024

May 1

Wednesday

2025

May 1

Thursday

2026

May 1

Friday

2027

May 1

Saturday

Cultural Holidays