The Official Guide to Leis

Leis are an iconic part of Hawaiian culture, but you might not know much more than that. Common questions about leis include why are they worn, what do they mean, and what are they made of? You can find answers to all of those questions and more right here! 

 Meaning of Leis

First and foremost, Leis represent the concept of "Aloha."

In Hawaiian culture, "Aloha," takes on many meanings depending on the occasion it is used. For instance, Aloha can mean hello, goodbye, love, joy, or hope. The giving of leis communicates that even though flowers do not last forever, the ideas behind "Aloha," are everlasting.  

Secondly, Leis are about celebrating!

 In Hawaii, leis are given to celebrate important life events, most commonly weddings, graduations, and birthdays. There is even a Hawaiian holiday called Lei Day. On May 1st every year, Hawaiians specifically celebrate the tradition of wearing and creating leis! 

Of course, you don't have to be limited to this short list- there are lots of other wonderful reasons to share celebratory leis with friends and family! 

So what are your choices when it is time to party?

There are four general types of lei: 

A Lei (ley-ee) is a wreath of flowers worn around the neck. They are the most commonly known type of lei.

A Haku (haw-koo) is a wreath of flowers worn around the head like a crown for both men and women.  

Wristbands are much smaller wreaths worn around the wrists as well as the ankles.

And finally, Hair Clips are worn in a woman's hair in the place of a Haku.