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Handmade fresh flower leis in Waikiki
Posted by Unknown | Sunday, February 23, 2014

When visiting the islands for a special occasion such as a honeymoon, birthday, family reunion, or anniversary it's customary to celebrate with the giving of a lei made of fresh flowers, fragrant leaves, berries, or seeds.  In Hawaii, placing one over the head and around the shoulders of a person shows that you are giving respect and honor to the person. These leis can be several different styles.

A maile lei is popularly worn by men, but can also be worn by women in a wedding or other important ceremony.   They are typically made of spicy scented, bright green Maile leaves.  It is open-ended and horseshoe shaped. The maile is the most traditional wedding lei, as it was used by the Kahuna (Hawaiian priest) in old Hawaii to bind the hands of the bride and groom, symbolizing their commitment to each other.

There is also the Haku lei, which is worn on the head straight over the eyes and tied in the back.  It is worn by both men and women, and is popular for weddings and hula dancing.

The most popular lei is the mixed flower lei, worn over the neck and resting evenly on the shoulders. Also worn by both men and women, it is the typical lei given to welcome a new visitor to the islands as a symbol of the Aloha spirit.

If you need to find leis while in Waikiki staying at one of our vacation rental units make sure you stop by Aunty Bella's Lei Stand.  They are on the corner of Lewers Street and Kalakaua Avenue which is just a short distance from our units at the Royal Kuhio, the Regency on Beachwalk, and the Waikiki Shore, plus many others.


Prices begin just under $10, and go up depending on the choice of flower, length, and type.

I saw this sign at the back of the shop and asked them about it.  Turns out it's also the oldest lei stand in Waikiki and it is still run by a Hawaiian family after 4 generations.  The original family had 8 children and now, with many other nephews and nieces, they continue the tradition of making leis.
photo courtesy of Aunty Bella's lei stand
The family also runs a fresh flower lei stand at the Reef Hotel and inside Duke's Restaurant in Waikiki.
They pride themselves on spreading the Aloha spirit through teaching others the cultural significance of this art by providing free lei making classes at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.  So, stop by one of their stands and pick up a lei to celebrate your stay and honor this tradition!

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