The first Lei Day was in 1927 (the Academy Awards began in 1929) and celebrated in downtown Honolulu with a few people wearing lei. From that it grew and more and more people began to wear lei on May 1. We are told that the first celebration and exhibit of lei was at the Bank of Hawai‘i. In 1928, the first lei queen was Nina Bowman. Mayor Charles Arnold crowned Lei Queen Nina Bowman here in Honolulu.
The annual Lei Day Celebration provides a venue, where one day of the year is set aside to celebrate the lei and the skill and artistry of Hawai‘i’s lei makers. This event honors Hawai‘i’s people and their rich heritage.
May 1, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Various entertainment throughout the day
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association Concert
11:00 a.m. Lei Court Investiture
1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Lei Exhibit Opens to the Public
10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Kūlana Lei
(subject to change)
On May 1st of each year, this beautiful event is at Kapi‘olani Park in Waikīkī from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event features the annual Lei Court, as well as local entertainment and hula hālau.
The Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association traditionally plays in the lei exhibit/Kūlana Lei area (open area between the bandstand and the shell).
The Lei Contest Exhibit is open to the public in the open area between the bandstand and the shell. See some of the most exquisite lei in the world exhibited in a variety of colors and methods, featuring contest entries from the adult, children and lipine (ribbon/yard) lei contests. The exhibit is open to the public from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Come to Kūlana Lei, a village of Hawaiian artisans, as they share their talents and skills with exhibits and demonstrations throughout the day. While at Kūlana Lei, have the mo‘opuna (grandchildren) - come visit Tūtū (grandparent) at Tūtū’s Hale and hear stories, play Hawaiian games, learn a song, a hula, how to make a lei, and learn how to weave with lauhala.
In addition to Kūlana Lei, craft, lei and food vendors will also be in the park all day.
The event is free and open to the public.
On May 2nd of each year, the closing ceremony for the annual Lei Day Celebration is at Mauna ‘Ala (The Royal Mausoleum) and Kawaiāha‘o Church (9-11:00 a.m.).
For more information about the 90th Annual Lei Day Celebration, you may visit www.honoluluparks.com or call (808) 768-3041.