Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day is Lei Day







Happy May Day and also Lei Day ....this beautiful annual celebration that happens throughout Hawaii and was started in 1928 to celebrate the tradition of making and giving leis to friends and family.

Today we celebrate spring, colors, flowers and sharing our aloha with leis.






Celebrations happen throughout the islands and here in Hawaii there are many festivals arranged to cover this wonderful celebration including demonstrations, lei competitions, craft shows, hula and many other festivities.




As I was touring some of the fun events that happened today, I spent some time at a demonstration booth were some women were making head and neck leis with different approaches.




The head leis were first braided together with dried pandanus (lauhala) leaves and then fresh flowers and various beads and leaf material are added. The final product similar to the second photo from the top.




The neck lei here is braided using fresh pandanus leaves and the ladies anchor the ends with their feet so they can align the braids better and have two hands to work with and add all the fresh flowers and added plant material.







This is what the entire look would be as an ensemble as shown by this beautiful tutu (grandmother)



Its very interesting to watch the process being made, at these demonstrations, they actually let you make your own lei after observing and with helpful hands, you can take one home yourself for lei day.

To view other posts with today's flowers go visit http://flowersfromtoday.blogspot.com/

32 comments:

Floridagirl said...

Wow, what a fun festival that would be! I have that very frangipani in the first photo, and it has such a sweet scent. I can only imagine how wonderful a whole string of blossoms would smell! I don't think mine will ever grow large enough to produce sufficient flowers to make a lei...especially if we have more winters like the last two.

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

Most be such an incredible sight seeing those ladies make those beautiful lei's. I didn't realise that they added beads aswell.

How long Noel would something like this stay fresh for?

noel said...

aloha,

depends on what types of flowers you use, the top flowers - the frangipani will only last a few days, but the next photo with the ohias and buds/leaves will last a long time and can also dry nicely to make a dried arrangement...it always depends on the type of flower you use.

Ana said...

how fascinating, thanks for sharing. Nice to know some can last longer than a few days.

Maia said...

So many beautiful flowers and wonderful traditions. How nice that they let you take the lei home.

EG Wow said...

I would love to know how to make a lei! They are so pretty!

Jacqui said...

Oh what a wonderful post, and how beautiful the Tutu is. Thank you for telling us about this. xx

Naturegirl said...

Aloha to you! I've not been to Hawaii yet so how nice is it to come by your blog and see all these traditional flowers made into Leis!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Noel. Oh, what a fun event to watch. All the colors must be spectacular.Grandma does have a lovely head lei. I would love to see the crafts.

Nance said...

Watching those ladies braid the neck lei must be fun to watch. Very informative post, Noel.

Carver said...

What a great post for May Day and for Today's Flowers. The leis are so beautiful and interesting learning more about them.

guild-rez said...

What a great post, beautiful pictures!!
Thank you for sharing your traditions.
- Cheers Gisela.
Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made
and forgot to put a soul to.
(Henry Ward Beckford)

Autumn Belle said...

It is great to know more about this culture. Flowers are so much a part of our lives. I'm wondering about the pandanus leaves that you mentioned. Does it have a fragrance. In Malaysia, the pandanus amarylifolius or fragrant pandan leaves are used in floral potpourris we call 'bunga rampai'. The fragrance lasts quite a long time.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Aloha

Totally tropical...

Great tradition Lei day, talk about 'say it' with flowers. Lovely

AaronVFT said...

Love the festivals! So showy, flowery and wonderful!!

gippslandgardener said...

Hi Noel, I am still amazed at the detail and skill that goes into making a lei. I'm not sure the one I'd take home would be much good!

nonizamboni said...

Such an interesting post! I had no idea about the process just the lovely outcome. And the last photo is a prize winner for sure.
Happy week!

lostlandscape (James) said...

Leis are such a great way to experience blooms, in a fragrant garland worn around you...

Christine B. said...

If May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, it must be Pray Day in Alaska. As in pray it doesn't snow. Or pray my garden looks half as lush as Hawaii at the end of our gorgeous but short summer.

Christine in Alaska

Grace and Bradley said...

Wow, what a marvelous and beautiful post. We envy you living in such a beautiful place.

Maria Berg said...

I would love to be there to see feel and smell all that flowers! MB

Chandramouli S said...

Lei day sounds fun! Tutu really looks lovely with her Tiara!

Mª Zélia said...

Que dia encantador!!! As flores por si só já são divinas, imagino vestir colares com elas! Parabéns pelas fotos, adorei saber mais sobre esta
linda cultura do seu povo!
Saudações cariocas!

Johnny Nutcase said...

aw, great photos! I bet the leis smell SO good!! I love the last picture - what a great smile!

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

I'll be visiting the island of Hawaii later this month. I wish we had planned our vacation earlier so that we could have been there for Lei Day. The ensemble is beautiful as is the grandmother.

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

P.S. I found you by way of Andrea of the "Andrea in this Lifetime" blog.

Ann said...

Do your women wear flowers in their hair behind their ears?

Ellada said...

Aloha and happy Lei Day.
It's great, there is still people who keep their traditions.
And Noel, you write very beautiful story.

Kate said...

I'd be so thrilled if I could be part of this event!

Say, what is the name of the red fuzzy flower in picture 2? I was in Maui in December and photographed this flower - so pretty - would love to know it's name. :)

Joanne said...

Hi Noel

Thanks for posting a comment on my blog. I am so behind with blogging at present but enjoyed popping over to your interesting blog.

Andrea said...

Mahalo Noel, i still remember we were all wearing leis in one event there as treadition for our first visit. Then in church service we were given shell leis which are still here at home as souvenir. I just forgot what thread they use in making the flower leis.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Last time I was out your way I got to see some different leis. They can really be amazingly creative and beautiful.

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