“Today, visitors can easily bring back the nostalgia of old Hawaii by ordering a traditional flower lei greeting for their arrival at the
airport. Greeters welcome visitors with a warm “aloha” and adorn them with
beautiful fresh leis. It's a wonderful way to begin a Hawaiian vacation.
There are very few "rules" when it comes to wearing Hawaiian lei. Anyone can wear one, anytime - there need not be an occasion. It is perfectly fine for one to purchase or make lei for themselves. It is common for locals to have a nut, seed or shell lei on hand to wear on special occasions. And hats are often adorned with flower, fern or feather leis.
There are, however, a couple of "unspoken rules" one should know when receiving a lei for the first time. A lei should be a welcomed celebration of one person's
affection to another. Therefore, always accept lei, never refuse. The proper
way to wear a lei is gently draped over the shoulders, hanging down both in
front and in back. It is considered rude to remove a lei from your neck in the
presence of the person who gave it to you, so if you must, be discreet.” The
above information on a Hawaii website, they are not my words; but they are very
informative for the first time visitor.
When we were in Hawaii in about 1974, we were greeted when we got off of the airplane with a lei given to each of us at the airport. I do
not know what they do now. The first thing we did after we checked into the
hotel was that we went out and bought Hawaiian bright shirts to wear. We all
got a medium blue shirt with lots of way out designs on them. They were a
symbol of that we were a family wearing similar shirts on our forty, forty- four, thirteen and nine year
old bodies. Then the next day we went
out and bought puka bead necklaces to adorn our necks. They were like a white
big seed looking necklace. Now we were ready for our special Hawaiian vacation.
Everyone wore puka necklaces all the time.
The following is some more on Hawaii and the lei. Hawaiians usually do not put the ‘s’ after lei, so I will not do it in this article. This
is from my friend in Steilacoom, Washington State who goes every year to Hawaii
with his friend Mary Petersen to teach the Hawaiians how to ballroom dance and
to give shows there and to have fun with our Hawaiian friends. Steven Behr
“We would like to share with you a piece of “aloha” that always makes our trip to Hawaii very special. Whenever we do a show or a class
there, most of the centers always present us each with a lei that the group has
made especially for us. We have received many different types of lei over the
last 26 years; and it doesn’t really matter what the lei is made out of but
rather the deep and sincere expression of thanks and love in which it is given.
This particular lei was given to us at an Alzheimer’s Center in Kahului, Maui.
Before we went there our expectations were not very positive concerning the
kind of reaction that we would receive.
Much to our surprise, the group was just great: funny, energetic, full
of the “aloha spirit”, and to top it off, we both received these distinctive
lei. As you can see the petals of the
”flowers” are made out of re-cycled computer paper which has been
cut-out in pattern. When we show these lei at other places or wear them while
we travel around the islands, people never guess correctly what they are made
of; shells, petals or glass?
So we wanted to share this special lei with you Elita, so as to continue the link of love that was started in Maui several years ago. You
can share the “mana” (spirit) with us as we travel once again to Oahu and Maui
sharing the aloha spirit with our island “ohana” (family). A Hui Hou! “Until we
Mary Petersen and Steven Behr.
He sent me the computer paper lei given to him from the people in Hawaii and now it proudly hangs on my bedroom wall, where I can glimpse it every night before we go to sleep and I feel proud that the circle of love from the Hawaiian people to
Steven and Mary finally rests with me here in Baltimore, Maryland all the way
from Hawaii to Washington State where Steve and Mary reside, to me here in
Maryland. It had a long trip and now rests in my home. How wonderful!!!
I heard today this information on a Sunday morning show. It was all about the lei. It said when the live flowers wilt and die; they have
been put there with love and even when they are no longer pretty, the lei till
remains because of the love in it. The lei is a circle of love and no one can
ever take it away from you.
Many things in life are like the lei. The devotion our parents gave to us when we were little, then as teens and even in adulthood
remains with us as the circle of love of the flowery lei. The love we feel for
our children as babies, teens, adults and even when they have children of their
own is not measureable or ever leaves us. The fondness we have for dear friends
and relatives stays with us. I have been the remembering last member of our
family of four. I remember everything about everyone pleasant and maybe not so
pleasant of long gone aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. I should put them
down for posterity of the family. When we dance as I have done for over thirty
years, you meet dancers you really call your dear friends whether you met them
in person or through the internet and some of them you adore, as if you really
know them well and others are so so, but that is OK. You have met and that in
itself is a nice event.
So the lei is a symbol of a circle of love and even if you have never been to Hawaii, you can always remember when you hear the word lei,
that there is a fine circle of love that we hope surrounds us and even if there is a smaller one, that is great too. There is a saying by someone named Amal Sami which says: “when you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
So to my entire readership, Hui Hou until we meet again through my words to you.