Island-Wide Aloha

Keiki make the 80th year of Lei Day one to remember.

By Brandon Roberts

“All leis are special, and we all have a favorite lei we like to wear close to our hearts,” Kumu Manuwai Peters said. Elaborating further he said that lei is a metaphor for the ones we love and hold dear in our lives. When a lei is created and presented, it is a gift that holds the mana and aloha from the maker, and is proudly displayed with this spirit.

The Molokai High School (MHS) theme for the 2008 Lei Day is; He Lei Pili i ka Pu'uwai (a lei close to one's heart). Each class gave song, hula and ho`okupu to this year’s Queen Pulamalani Hanaoka, and the packed gym. The junior class shared a tearful mahalo for the classmates that passed away this year.

This year, Friendly Isle schools gave Lei Day and the community aloha with song and laughs, hula and ceremony. From Kilohana to Kualapu`u, Molokai haumana showed the spirit of the lei with energy and vibrance.

The Kaunakakai Elementary school took the audience on a “Journey through Polynesia” this year’s keiki theme. The sixth graders reigned over the festival; with Queen Karley Kaulili and King Manuel Ni`ihau as entertainers and the entertained, as each grade took us on a fantastic Polynesian adventure.

Lei Day was coined in 1928 by Don Blanding an American writer who was new to Hawaii. Blanding noted how the art of lei making and sharing was only being used for special occasions, like birthdays and weddings. He had heard stories of how the lei was an everyday part of life for the people of Hawaii and a shared community experience; Blanding thought it would be wonderful to return some aloha that the lei is always giving.

From that day on, Lei Day became the Hawaiian celebration for May Day, with the selecting of a queen to preside over the festival, and the presentation of a rainbow of leis, rich in culture and love.



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