Lei: A Gift of Love

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Lei are often worn by Hula dancers during performances. You have probably seen beautiful lei made of various colorful flowers, kukui nuts, t-leaf, shells or even seeds. In modern Hawaiʻi, lei are often given at airports and special events to greet visitors. Natives of Hawaiʻi give a lei to their loved ones for birthdays, graduations, special events, and celebrations.

hula girls wearing hawaiian lei

The lei custom was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by early Polynesian voyagers. In ancient Hawaiʻi, lei were made of feathers, leaves, shells, flowers, nuts, seeds, and bones/teeth of various animals. Ancient Hawaiians wore these garlands to beautify themselves. Some lei had a significant meaning. The Maile lei, made of a green vine, was used to signify peace between opposing chiefs. The chiefs would intertwine Maile lei signifying peace between the two groups.

hawaiian woman with offering hawaiian lei

It is perfectly acceptable to wear a lei on any given day; there does not need to be a special occasion. A lei may be purchased from a store of a lei maker, or you may string one yourself. Lei may be worn around your neck, or even around a hat. A lei is a symbol of affection. Therefore, it is considered rude to refuse a lei when it is being given to you. It is also considered impolite to remove a lei from your neck in front of the person who gave it to you.

two female hula dancers with beautiful lei

Today the lei is a symbol of Hawaiʻi to millions of visitors around the world. Hawaiʻi Hula Company is proud to offer lei greeting for special events to welcome your guests in a unique way!