Since as long as the Polynesian voyagers journeyed to and from the islands the lei has always been a part of their culture. Leis were constructed of flowers, leaves, shells, seeds, nuts, feathers, and even bone and teeth of various animals. These garlands were worn by ancient Hawaiians to embellish and distinguish themselves from others. Leis were and still are symbols of love, of a spiritual meaning or connection, of healing, and of respect. There are many references to leis being symbolic of the “circle”…circle of a family, love, life. With the advancement of tourism in the islands, the lei quickly became the symbol of Hawaii to millions of visitors worldwide, a symbol of Aloha. A Hawaiian proverb states, “E lei no au i ko aloha” (“I will wear your love as a wreath”), meaning “I will cherish your love as a beautiful adornment.”
A lei for the head is known as lei po‘o, while a lei worn around the neck is known as lei ‘ā‘ī , and any lei worn on a hat is known as lei pāpale. Lei made to be worn on the wrists or ankles are known as kūpe‘e. Remember, to show appreciation to the giver of a lei, one may give a kiss and an embrace.
The Hawaiian Lei to me is a symbol of True Aloha and so much more!
Jennifer Cole-Conner, RA
Koloa Landing |
TF: 866-921-4242 | O: 808-240-6633 | F: 866-599-3703