Lei Day at Kauai Museum

The 34th annual Lei Day competition will be held on Thursday, on May 1, 2014.

If you stay at our Kauai vacation rentals the first week of May, you’ll have an opportunity to experience a beautiful Hawaiian holiday. It’s Lei Day which has been celebrated here since early 1928, thanks to poet Don Blanding. He wrote an article in a local paper that year and suggested that a holiday be created to honor the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. It was fellow writer Grace Tower Warren who came up with the idea of a holiday on May 1, in conjunction with May Day. She is also responsible for the phrase, “May Day is Lei Day”.

One of many popular Kauai events, Lei Day is now celebrated at the Kauai Museum.

New Lei Day events include free Lomi massage, Hawaiian music starting at 9:30am, food booths with baked goods and shave ice. Entry fee is only $5 and a great Kauai deal.

If you stop by between 10am and 3pm you can see anywhere from 65 to 100 handcrafted lei. They are delivered to the museum in the early morning, measured, reviewed to be sure they meet the criteria and categorized by color and size. Lei are judged for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons. Some are given sponsored awards which are above and beyond in each category.

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 award. 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 started 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 traveled to Switzerland and Germany several years ago 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.


One comment on “Lei Day at Kauai Museum

  1. betty on said:

    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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