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Lei Day Celebration In Oahu

Lei Day marked on a calendar

Have you heard about Lei Day? Most longtime residents of the West Oahu apartments already know about this annual event and its associated festivities, but for those that might be new, here’s a brief introduction, courtesy of

“May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii Nei. This popular phrase in the islands prevents anyone from forgetting this special day. It was Don Blanding, a writer and poet, who first suggested that a holiday should be dedicated to the beautiful Hawaiian tradition of making and wearing lei.”

From there, “Lei Day” was made to coincide with May Day, and from that first Lei Day on May 1st, 1928, it’s been a yearly Hawaiian tradition of epic proportions. Still a bit lost? No worries there, because today, we’re giving you an overview of what Lei Day is, its history, and where those big celebrations are going down.

So What Is Lei Day?

As you might have already picked up on, Lei Day is a rather special event in Hawaii. It’s a celebration of the “Hawaiian Spirit,” a “symbol of aloha,” and central to the symbolism is the lei itself. Each Hawaiian island has its own specific lei, fashioned from a fruit or flower, and, after fashioning a lei, tradition holds that the mana of the lei’s creator is sewn into it:

“Therefore, when you give a lei, you are giving a part of you. Likewise, as you receive a lei, you are receiving a part of the creator of the lei.”

This guide shows six common methods for crafting lei, and if you’re curious about creating your own, you should check out the Lei Making Workshop Schedule, which details the different classes that will guide you through the process of lei-crafting in peerless fashion.

You’ll find different expressions of Hawaiian culture woven into the fabric of this celebration, and common activities include the giving of gifts, theatrical productions, lectures, traditional crafting, and the election of court “kings and queens” to represent the different Hawaiian islands. The court selection has already taken place, but you can gain a bit more insight about the process and this year’s hopefuls from this guide. As for the Lei Queen herself, you can read all about it here.

And remember, it’s not just Hawaiian culture you’ll find represented on this day, though. Throughout the years, traditions from other societies have melded into the celebration by way of various ethnic groups. For example, many European descendants now live in Hawaii, and their musical influence can be seen in some of the songs performed during the celebration.

Other groups who have contributed to the festivities include the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Filipino cultures -- all of which have settled and integrated into Hawaii as a whole. Everyone wants to have fun on Lei Day, and this is one of the ways in which every gets in on the multitude of festivities.

What’s The Big Lei Day Celebration?

The largest Lei Day event -- The Annual Lei Day Celebration -- happens on Oahu. As stated on the event program, this year will be the 91st iteration of the annual celebration held on May 1 at Kapi’olani Park from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. In part, it will celebrate the “skill and artistry” of Hawaii’s expert lei-makers, but there’s plenty more on the schedule that will appeal to just about everyone:

9:00AM - 9:45AM -- Royal Hawaiian Band

10:00AM - 10:45AM -- Na Wahine O Ka Hula Mai Ka Pu’uwai

11:00AM - 12:30AM -- Investiture Ceremony For The 2018 Lei Queen & Court

12:30PM -- Official Opening Of The Lei Contest Exhibit By The 2018 Lei Queen & Court

12:45AM - 1:30PM -- Kamakakehau Fernandez And Keolani Pau

1:45PM - 2:30PM -- Kamuela Kimokeo

2:45PM - 3:30PM -- Hoku Zuttermeister

3:45PM - 4:30PM -- Bobby Moderow Jr.

4:45PM - 5:30PM -- Halau Hula ‘O Hokulani

Of particular note there is the Lei Contest Exhibit. It’s here you’ll be able to see some of the most intricately-crafted lei on display. They’ll feature a wide range of colors, different methods of creation, and are made by both adults and children. The display area will be open to the public, so be sure to get over there and check out all the fine lei for yourself.

The lei won’t be the only craftworks on display, though. There will be a host of Hawaiian artisans and vendors peddling their wares throughout the celebration. In addition, they’ll be doing exhibits and demonstrations showing off exactly how they create their amazing works. Who knows, maybe you’ll pick up a thing or two and be inspired to do some authentic crafting of your own?

The Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association will be putting on a master class in showmanship as the play in the lei exhibit area from 10:00AM to 3:00PM, and, on top of all that, you’ll be able to take part in various extra Hawaiian activities over at Tutu’s Hale, have your picture snapped at the few photo stops strewn about the celebration area, and enjoy the fine food from the vendors who will be in the park all day. It’s all free and open to the public, so there’s no reason not to get out there and enjoy. Also, don’t forget the closing ceremony which takes place on May 2nd at The Royal Mausoleum and Kawaiaha’o Church -- it’ll be the perfect send-off to all the previous day’s fun.

The West Oahu Apartments Are Near The Best Lei Day Action

The biggest Lei Day celebrations happen on Oahu, and the best spots near the action are fine communities like the Kapilina Beach Homes. It’s not just the proximity that makes them great, though -- it’s the unparalleled lifestyle you’ll enjoy here. Imagine, being tucked away among some of the finest beaches and water the islands have to offer, all the while, being able to come back spacious living units and some of the very best resident amenities you’ve ever seen from a rental property. It’s not all that farfetched. Check out Kapilina today and see what the buzz is about.