The Wild Orchid is Now Featuring Handmade Leis for Your Upcoming Party or Luau Event and we wanted you to have the background of the lei and its meaning.
Leis are traditional Hawaiian flower necklaces given as a sign of welcoming and to show affection. Hawaiian flower leis are made of beautiful and colorful blossoms found in Hawaii. Orchids are the most popular flowers for Hawaiian leis. Plumeria and Lehua Blossoms are other common lei flowers. Leis traditionally express love, reverent, respect, congratulations and welcome. The different colors of Hawaiian Lei Greetings can have different meanings.
Orchids – Purple, Green and White Hawaiian Flower Leis: Orchid leis are often given to visitors to welcome them to Hawaii. Orchid leis are also given as a thank you.
Ilima Flower Leis – Orange, Red and Brown Hawaiian Flower Leis: The ilima flower is the official flower of Oahu and symbolizes love.
Green Maile Ti Leaf Leis – Ti Leaf Leis symbolize admiration, appreciation and respect. Ti leaf leis are often used as gifts for weddings, graduations, anniversaries and memorials.
Kukui Nuts Leis – The Kukui nut lei was once a symbol of royalty. These brown leis are given to show respect or appreciation.
Hawaiian leis were not always made with flowers. Ancient Hawaiians used feathers, leaves, beads, ivory, shells and animal teeth. Leis were first recorded by Captain Cook in 1779 but the tradition dates back many centuries. Early Polynesians used them for beauty and to distinguish themselves from others. They exchanged leis with each other to show love and friendship. Special Leis were given meaning to signify events such as marriage, community, birth, religious ceremonies, grief, death, community and politics.
There are certain rules of etiquette when it comes to Hawaiian Lei Greetings. A Hawaiian Lei is a symbol of welcome, affection or friendship, so a lei given as a gift should should never be refused. A person is considered rude if they remove their lei in the presence of the person who gave it to them. When wearing a lei it should be gently draped on the shoulders with part of the lei hanging down in the front and back.
Hawaiian Flower Leis continue to be a gesture of welcome to visitors. Hawaii became a popular tourist destination in the late 1800s and early 1900s when people would come to visit Hawaii by boat. During these times the lei became popular among tourists as vendors sold leis to visitors as they arrived, welcoming them with an “aloha.” The tradition of Hawaiian Lei Greetings has been embraced ever since.