Throughout history, May 1st has been celebrated as a popular Spring Holiday around the world, and Hawaii is no exception. Based off the ideas of writers Don Blanding and Grace Tower Warren, the Hawaiian holiday, appropriately titled “Lei Day”, was created to coincide with May Day; centering its focus and activities around the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing the flower lei. Coining the now popular phrase “May Day is Lei Day,” the idea soon took off and festivities featuring hula, music, lei making demonstrations and contests along with cultural exhibits were held in Downtown Honolulu that year. In 1929, Lei Day became an unofficial holiday in the territory of Hawaii and over the years, the tradition has continued.
Oahu Lei Day Festivities
Today, May 1st is still celebrated across the State of Hawaii with school children and adults alike sporting their brightest aloha wear and a lei or two throughout the day. On Oahu, the main festivities take place at Kapi’olani Park in Waikiki. A day long event, Lei Day festivities include a “Royal May Day Court” featuring the annual investiture of the Lei Queen along with the annual May Day Lei Contest. You can also find a rainbow of Hawaiian lei and craft exhibitions, demonstrations and vendors. Children can learn Hawaiian songs, hula, lei making and listen to traditional Hawaiian stories at Tutu’s Hale (grandma’s house). Experience the beauty and warmth of the islands; May Day is definitely Lei Day in Hawaii and sure to be a wonderful time for the entire family.