One of the pleasures of visiting Hawaii is the gift of a flower lei upon your arrival. But Hawaiian flower leis are not just for tourists. They are an important part of the rich Hawaiian culture.
Flower Leis were originally created by the Polynesians and spread throughout the Pacific with the Polynesian culture as intrepid explorers sailed throughout the region.
Hawaiian Leis are usually made of natural materials such as flowers, leaves, seeds and ferns. Other types of leis are fashioned with shells, bones, or feathers. In Hawaiian culture, leis are used for personal adornment or as gifts marking a special occasion such as a birthday or graduation or as a mark of affection. Historically, Hawaiian chiefs created a special type of lei as a symbol of peace agreements.
The proper way to wear a lei is across your shoulders, draping in the front and back. One should never refuse the gift of a lei. After use, a lei should not be thrown away in the trash. It should be returned to the earth by hanging it on a tree or throwing it into the ocean.
Among the newer lei traditions is “Lei Day” celebrated on May 1. Each Hawaiian island has its own type of lei in a specific color to represent it during the celebrations.
Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to visit Hawaii to receive the gift of a lei. You can now start your own lei traditions by ordering silk leis online at www.thehawaiishop.com to be delivered right to your doorstep.