Lei Day
As the first day of May dawns in Hawaii, Lei Day bursts forth in a riot of color, fragrance, and festivity. Leis are garlands crafted from flowers, leaves, and even shells, carrying significant cultural importance in Hawaiian culture. Leis were brought by the Polynesians as they migrated eastward through the Pacific Islands before reaching Hawaii between 1000 and 1200 CE. They represent love, respect, and the ever-present aloha spirit, described as 'the coordination of mind and heart within each person.' Lei Day is an all-day fiesta that includes parades, pageants, lei-making contests, hula dances, and feasts. It also marks the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.