History

May Day is Lei Day: How Hawaii uses flowers to celebrate its heritage

May Day is Lei Day: How Hawaii uses flowers to celebrate its heritage

In 1927 resident poet at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin Don Blanding had an idea for a new holiday. As he explained in his 1930 book Hula Moons, “the bright idea that I presented was, "Why not have a Lei Day?" Let everyone wear a lei and give a lei. Let it be a day of general rejoicing over the fact that one lived in a Paradise. Let it be a day for remembering old friends, renewing neglected contacts, with the slogan "Aloha," allowing that flexible word to mean friendliness on that day.” The idea was a hit and by 1929 it was made an official holiday on the first of every May, leading to the slogan, “May Day is Lei Day.”