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May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii – by Jan Baza

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii
an exerpt from Dave and Jan Baza's monthly hula newsletter

To help celebrate “Lei Day”, here is a link to an informative video about Lei Day in Hawaii.


The lei is a lovely tradition that brings a good feeling to both the giver and the receiver.  It stands as an ancient representation and symbol of love, friendship, and goodwill.  The lei tradition also represents admiration, respect and honor offered by one person to another.

Worn by both men and women of all ages, the lei represents a range of emotions and is presented at all types of occasions.  Decorative foilage, seeds, feathers, hair, and stone are often associated with the sanctity of the natural environment and are used as garlands to beautify and to distinguish someone or a special event.

The giving and waring of lei may have begun with the traditional Hawaiian belief that the head and shoulders are sacred parts of the body.  During the 1800s, steamships traveled regularly to Hawaii or stopped off on their way to or from the ports of Asia and the Pacific Islands.  On “Boat Day” visitors from all over the world were greeted with “the Aloha Spirit” and presented with a fresh floral lei.  The same custom occurred when they departed, and it was said that if a departing visitor tossed his or her lei into the ocean, and it floated back to the beach, then it meant that the person was destined to return to the islands.

Lei-making has evolved, and new, innovative materials are used, but the tradition of lei-giving remains an expression of respect, gratitude and love.

“Gingers”                   Poem by Don Blanding


White Ginger is like scented wings of moths

Shell Ginger is a mermaid's dainty chain

Torch Ginger is a staff of petal flame

Burning, defiant of the quenching rain

The Yellow Ginger yields a sweet perfume

To catch and hold the heart in woven leis

Red ginger is the warm blood of Hawaii

Spilling its laughter through the tropic days


Hula dancing teaches us to strive to be our very best, and move from an undisciplined state to one of spiritual and bodily poise.  These are on-going classes to learn traditional Kahiko (ancient style) and ‘Auana (modern style) hulas, as well as instruments (Ipu—gourd drum, Pu’ili—bamboo sticks, ‘Uli’uli—feather rattles).

BEGINNERS Sat 9:30 am  Contact Jan Baza at huladancers@c-zone.net.

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