May_Day_is_Lei_Day_in Hawai'i

Background

Traditionally May 1 is an ancient (pegan) northern hemisphere spring festival celebrated by many European cultures with dances, songs and festive foods.

In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workersʻ Day by the Socialists and the Communists giving it the current May Day “bad taste” of riots and other socially unacceptable events.

May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i

The tradition of Lei Day celebrations began in 1927 and continues through today.  It is a day to celebrate the Hawaiian culture or the aloha spirit.  People commonly celebrate by gifts of leis to one another, putting on school plays, and other celebrations.  On Oahu, the celebration is held at the Kapi’olani Park with the Lei Day Queen and court, Lei contest, the Royal Hawaiian Band and various Hawaii singers, and hula dancing.  The 2017 90th Annual Lei Day Celebration schdule can be seen here.

Following tradition, each island has their own version of Lei Day celebrations.  They can be seen below.

     Hilo Lei Day Festival

     Kauai Lei Day Festival

     Maui Lei Day Festival

©Feb 2018                       Honolulu County Coordinator Doreen Harunaga-Ewing