May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii (May 1st)

Only in Hawaii

If you are lucky enough to be visiting Hawaii on May 1st, you will get to enjoy a holiday unique to Hawaii called “Lei Day.” Festivals rich in Hawaiian music, hula, lei making competitions, and demonstrations are held throughout Hawaii where you will be able to view some of the most beautiful leis in the world. 

On Kauai, the Kauai Museum is host to the Lei Making Competition where all the leis and winners are on display for public view. One of the most coveted awards is the “Mayor’s Choice” in which our Mayor Bernard Carvalho makes the selection for this award.

Hawaiian Lei

The History of the Hawaiian Lei

In researching the history of this Hawaiian holiday, it appears that in 1928 a Honolulu newspaper published an article written by local writer, Don Blanding, suggesting that a celebration be created that would center around the Hawaiian custom of wearing and making leis. 

Following this article, another writer, Grace Warren suggested May 1st as an appropriate day and coined the phrase “May Day is Lei Day.” Following the publication of these articles, May 1, 1928 became the first celebration of May Day in Honolulu. Every resident was encouraged to wear a lei and the first May Day Festival featuring music, hula, and lei making demonstrations was held in Honolulu capturing the spirit of Hawaii and the Hawaiian’s love of color, flowers, and music.

hula dancers

In 1929, Lei Day was made an official holiday in this U.S. territory and it has continued through today, with a brief interruption following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 until the conclusion of World War II. May Day celebrations are also held at many of our elementary schools where children wear leis to school in honor of this holiday.

For More Information on May Day

If you want to find out about May Day celebrations on the island you may be visiting, you can contact the local Visitors Bureau. Do take the time to enjoy one of the most colorful holidays celebrated in Hawaii.

If you are considering relocating to Hawaii, my sister and I would be happy to assist in answering your questions; we are the Sister’s Team of Ilona (808.635.1495) and Lucy (808.651.5676). Have a wonderful Aloha Day!

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2 Responses to “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii (May 1st)”

  1. Annie Mendoza, (RS)
    May 2, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Mahalo, Lucy, for this lovely reminder about Lei day; a special day in Hawaii; dear to many of of us.

    • Lucy Adams, RS
      May 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      It appears that you have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed our Hawaiian Lei Day!

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