May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii!
Written by Donna Tamaye
The lei is known worldwide as a symbol of aloha. The lei custom was introduced to the Hawaiian Island by the early Polynesian voyagers, who courageously sailed from Tahiti by navigating the stars. With these first Hawaiians, the tradition of the lei was born. Some leis were symbolic, such as the kukui nut lei, which was worn only by Ali’i (royalty). However, perhaps the most significant lei was the Maile lei. Among other sacred uses, it was used to signify a peace agreement between opposing chiefs. In a Heiau (temple), the chiefs would symbolically intertwine the fragrant Maile vine, and its completion officially established peace between the two groups.
Great love and care is taken into the gathering of the materials to make a lei, which traditionally included flowers, leaves, shells, seeds, nuts, and feathers. After the materials are gathered, they are prepared and sewn to become a lei. As this is done, the mana (or spirit) of the creator of the lei 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.
On May 1, 1927, Hawaii celebrated its very first Lei Day in downtown Honolulu. In 1928, Mayor Charles Arnold crowned Lei Queen Nina Bowman in Honolulu. Today, the Lei Day, also known as May Day, festivities have flourished to include a selection of a Lei Day Queen, with a princess representing each of the islands, wearing lei fashioned with the island’s flower and color.
We will continue this very special tradition at Trinity on April 30 and May 1st. 2nd grade through 12th grade will celebrate on April 30, from 9:00-10:30 on the Makai campus. Preschool through 1st Grade will celebrate May 1 from 9-10 am in the Mauka campus sanctuary. All students are encouraged to wear aloha attire or uniforms and Makai students are encouraged to bring a lei for the lei exchange, as a symbol of exchanging aloha. Both campuses will have a Facebook live stream of the events.