In 1927, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published an article written by Don Blanding, suggesting a holiday that was centered around the Hawaiian custom of wearing and making leis. In his book Hula Moons, Blanding says . . . "The custom of weaving and wearing flower leis originated with the Hawaiians so long ago that they have no record of its beginning... When tourists discovered Hawaii, they loved the charming gesture and they spread the word of it until the lei became known around the world."
"...Hawaii observed all of the mainland holidays as well as those of a number of the immigrant nationalities in the Islands. But there was no day that was peculiarly and completely Hawaii's own; that is none that included all of the polyglot population there."
"So, the bright idea that I presented was, 'Why not have a Lei Day?' Let everyone wear a lei and give a lei. Let it be a day of general rejoicing over the fact that one lived in a paradise. Let it be a day for remembering old friends, renewing neglected contacts, with the slogan 'Aloha,' allowing that flexible word to mean friendliness on that day.”
Blanding discussed the idea with “Kamaaina Kolumn” columnist Grace Warren. Enthusiastically embracing the idea, Warren suggested May Day and coined the phrase "May Day is Lei Day." Leonard “Red” and Ruth Hawk, inspired by their idea, composed May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. This song resonates throughout every Lei Day celebration in the State of Hawaii.
Photo courtesy of History Education Hawaii News.
Flowers of the Hawaiian Islands
A special flower represents each of the Hawaiian Islands.
Leis of the Hawaiian Islands
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