Lei Day Events Include Annual Celebration at Kauai Museum

The 35th Annual Lei Day Competition Will Be Held On Friday – May 1, 2015 – from 9:30am to 4:00pm.

Lei Day is one of the most beautiful Kauai events every year. This timeless craft was first introduced by the Polynesian voyagers and given its own special day years ago in 1928. We invite all guests at our Kauai vacation rentals to come and enjoy the exquisite floral and fauna our island has to offer. Surround yourself with the sounds of Hawaiian music, a plate of local food and a chance to meet new friends at Kauai Musuem during the annual celebration.

Lei Day events at Kauai Museum include a lei auction, Make-A-Lei classes, Hawaiian music and food booths with baked goods.

Up to 100 handcrafted lei are delivered to the museum in the early morning. They are measured, reviewed to be sure they meet criteria and categorized by color and size. Lei are judged for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons or sponsorship awards. There is also a separate Keiki La Lei Contest at the museum to encourage youth participation in learning the art of lei making.

Lei Day History

Back in 1928, poet Don Blanding who was living in Hawaii, suggested the idea of Lei Day in a newspaper article. Star-Bulletin writer, Grace Tower Warden, followed up on it and coined the phrase, May Day is Lei Day. Here on Kauai, our celebration is credited to Irmalee and Walter Pomroy who started the first Lei Contest thirty four years ago.

Several years ago the Malie Foundation Award for the Most Hawaiian lei went to our very own Pat Finberg.

Pat is Guest Services Manager at our Princeville Resort office and received this prestigious honor. The mission of the Malie Foundation is to provide events that educate, preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture through its varied activities and for all people. Malie is the Hawaiian word for calm or smooth and is often used in songs to describe the Peacefulness of the Ocean. Pat’s lei that year was created in the Wili style of lei making, which is to wrap each piece of material individually onto a base. Local native material was used in its creation with Pat picking, cleaning and assembling the lei.

Pat started making lei in the mid 1970’s when she began studying hula and Hawaiian culture with Ka Imi Na’auao O Hawaii Nei Institute. She continues her studies with Kumu Hula Roselle Kelihonipua Bailey and is inspired to carry on the work of her teachers to honor them. They make all of their lei for hula performances.

For over thirty years, Pat has been participating in the Kauai Museum Lei Day competition and winning awards. Through the years she has conducted workshops at the Kauai Museum and around the island. Pat’s halau has traveled to Switzerland and Germany to perform hula. Our congratulations to Pat for her dedication and hard work to preserve this art.

If you would like to know what happens to all those beautiful lei, they are purchased at silent auction.

To benefit the Kauai Museum you can bid on your favorite lei at the event. Our very own Cynthia Kaiminaauao, senior reservationist for Parrish Kauai, is often at the museum giving back to the community by donating her time. She creates and sells beautiful gardenia corsages as a museum fundraiser. A big Mahalo for her commitment to give back to the community.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvia Villamero May 1, 2014 at 5:59 am

My husband, who just turned 72, and was born and raised on the islands says Lei day was a big deal when he was in school there. He says girls gave leis to their favorite boys and he got lots of leis! :)


JP May 1, 2014 at 7:24 am

Aloha Sylvia, thanks for sharing. It is a great tradition.


betty May 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

its amazing how they are made how beautiful they are ..my personal favourite flower is Plumaria Mmmm can smell them hered in Vancouver Canada and I hope to come back to your beautiful islands soon xooxxoox


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