Hilo, Hawai`i
click logo for homepage

Mo`olelo o na Lei
( Stories of the Lei )

 Lei Links   *   Lei Songs   *   Lei Gifts

 Lei Page

 May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i

     These days we only hear the chorus of May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i, but there was a lot more to the song when "Red" Hawk wrote it back in 1927. And, though we do it as a hula today, it was, originally, a Fox Trot! Here, ALL of the lyrics are presented for your enjoyment. To hear and see it performed, come visit our  Mo`olelo o nā Lei Lei Day festival on May 1 at the Mo`oheau Band Stand. To learn more, please keep reading!


May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i
words and music by "Red" Hawk
copyright 1927

Land of the flowers, of flow'ry bowers,
In her gay dress she appears
A sweet happy maid, may her dress never fade
As she carries this day through the years

May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i
Garlands of flowers ev'ry where
All of the colors in the rainbow
Maidens with blossoms in their hair
Flowers that mean we should be happy
Throwing aside our load of care, Oh!
May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i
Lei Day is happy day out there.

Land of green mountains, gardens and fountains
Beaches of white shining sand
Where each one I see has a smile just for me
And has ready a welcoming hand

May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i
Garlands of flowers ev'ry where
All of the colors in the rainbow
Maidens with blossoms in their hair
Flowers that mean we should be happy
Throwing aside our load of care, Oh!
May Day is Lei Day in Hawai`i
Lei Day is happy day out there.


     In 2001, our Senator, Danial Kahikina Akaka, during a May 1 address, said, " 'May Day is Lei Day' in Hawaii. Lei Day is a nonpolitical and nonpartisan celebration. Indeed, its sole purpose is to engage in random acts of kindness and sharing, and to celebrate the Aloha spirit, that intangible, but palpable, essence which is best exemplified by the hospitality and inclusiveness exhibited by the Native Hawaiians -- Hawaii's indigenous peoples -- to all people of goodwill."

     A lei is not just flowers strung on a thread. A lei is a tangible representation of aloha in which symbols of that aloha are carefully sewn or woven together to create a gift. This gift tells a story of the relationship between the giver and the recipient. many things can make up a lei. One can string flowers, seeds, shells, or berries into a lei. One can weave vines and leaves into a lei. Once can weave words into a poem or song, which is then a lei. The ultimate expression of a lei is kamalei - the child which represents the intertwining of aloha between the parents.

     The theme for our Lei Day festival is "Mo`olelo o nā Lei," Stories of the Lei. This theme was selected to help us to remember that each lei tells a story.

     Join our Hālau, Na Mohala o Hāla`i, in a small `ohana-style event celebrating Lei Day, May 1, 2008, at the Mo`oheau Bandstand (behind the main terminal of the Hilo Bus Station) from Noon to 3:00 pm for a simple commemoration which will include storytelling, lei making demonstrations, music, and sharing - bring your guitar or `ukulele and a brown-bag lunch!

     Featured will be Grammy-award winning artist Keoki Kahumoku, master story-teller Leilehua Yuen, and their `ohana, students, and friends.


Lei Day Proclamation

 Whereas the Lei is an ancient art emblematic of the Hawaiian Islands and their People, and a symbol of Aloha and intercultural harmony renowned throughout the world; 

Whereas the traditions, protocols, and the artistry of mo`olelo and kaona behind the Lei are an integral part of the art form, and worthy of perpetuation;

 Whereas these traditions of lei making foster appreciation and love of the land, nature, and our island home, and encourage stewardship and responsible use of natural resources; 

Whereas the Lei is made up of many diverse materials, each with its own unique characteristics which enrich the story and artistry as it is fashioned together into a truly special creation of beauty; just as the County of Hawai`i is made up of people of many diverse backgrounds, abilities and talents, whose unique contributions enrich our community and make it a truly special place; 

Whereas the many and varied benefits of the traditions of the Lei are honored and celebrated at divers places and times throughout the Month of May;

 NOW Therefore I, Harry Kim, Mayor of the County of Hawai`i do hereby proclaim May 1, 2008 as

Lei  Day 

In the County of Hawai`i and urge our citizens to enjoy the festivities today,

And furthermore, I do hereby proclaim the Month of May, 2007 as 

The Month of the Lei

 In the County of Hawai`i and urge our citizens to reap the benefits of our traditional artistic expressions throughout this month and henceforth as we renew our commitment to draw strength from and celebrate our Hawaiian and Multi-Cultural heritage. 

In witness WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused The Seal of the County of Hawai`i to be affixed.

Harry Kim
County of Hawaii    



May Lei Activities
phone 1-808-217-9924 for more information

06images/29_94_1.jpg  Lyman MuseumApril 30 - May 5 - May Day Lei Day Feather lei exhibit, Lyman House Museum.

May 1 - Lei Day - Mo`olelo o na Lei at the Mo`oheau Bandstand. Noon to 3 pm

May 2 - After a several year long hiatus, Na`alehu School reinstitutes its Lei Day program!

May 4 - May Day Lei Day at the Palace Theater. 1pm to 4pm

May 17 - Onizuka Visitor Information Station, Mauna Kea, Lei Day presentation



Kona Web

Hawai`i Island Vacation Planner


Volcano Art Center


Talk Story! 
Join the Ka`ahele Hawai`i Forum
click here

    Ka`ahele Hawai`i  is an electronic magazine of Hawai`i Island. We hope to provide material of interest and usefulness to readers both on and off Ka Moku Hawai`i. It is currently under development as the first website designed and managed by Yuen Media Services. We would like to invite YOU, the reader, to participate in the development of this site. Please let us know of any suggestions you may have to make this site more useful and enjoyable. Mahalo, Leilehua Yuen.