Different Kinds of Leis

by Howery
April 4th, 2015

Hawaii became a popular tourist destination in the late 1800s and early 1900s when people would travel by boat. During these times the lei became popular among tourists as vendors sold leis to visitors upon arrival, welcoming them with aloha. The tradition of Hawaiian Lei Greetings has been embraced ever since. Today people can obtain an authentic lei with the welcoming aloha spirit when they disembark from their plane. But there are certain rules of propriety when it comes to the Hawaiian Lei. As a symbol of welcome, affection or friendship, a lei given as a gift should never be refused. Only a rude individual would remove their lei in the presence of the person who gave it to them. Once wearing a lei it should be gently draped on the shoulders with part of it hanging down in the front and back.

There are no official meanings of the different colors of Hawaiian leis, but there are some types of leis that are commonly given for certain occasions. Meanings of the leis are often based on the material as opposed to color. Purple, green, and white leis are often made from orchids. Orchid leis are given as a thank you or as a welcome to a visitor. This type of lei is easily found throughout the islands. Maile ti leaf leis are made from the green ti leaf. These leis symbolize appreciation, admiration, and respect. Ti leaf leis are often used as gifts for graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and even memorials. Orange, red, or brown ilima flower leis symbolize love. The ilima flower is the official flower of the island of Oahu.

Leis that have white, pink, or red carnations are usually a symbol of love as well. Carnation leis are exchanged during weddings or at anniversary parties. Kukui nuts are often dried and polished, resulting in a deep brown finish. The kukui nut lei once symbolized royalty. It can be given to a man or a woman as the intent is to show respect or appreciation. These leis can be saved indefinitely. Check out Hawaii Discount (#hawaiidiscount) for the best offers and prices on tours and activities as well as ordering leis for loved ones.

Loa’a wale lā!



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