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Hawaiian Lei Day

Visitors to Hawaii quickly became accustomed to the lei as an expression of welcome and hospitality. While working at the Honolulu Star Bulletin, poet laureate Don Blanding discussed his idea of celebrating and recognizing the custom of giving and receiving lei with “Kamaaina Kolumn” columnist, Grace Tower Warren. She enthusiastically embraced the idea and suggested that the day should be May 1st, coining the phrase “May Day is Lei Day.” Inspired by their zeal, Leonard “Red” and Ruth Hawk composed the song, "May Day is Lei Day," which now resonates throughout every Lei Day celebration in Hawaii.

Hawaiian leis

The first Lei Day was in 1927 and celebrated in downtown Honolulu with a few people wearing lei. Since then, it has grown, and many Hawaiians wear lei on May Day.

Sources: Honolulu Parks and Recreation,  StoryPhoto.

History of the Luau

In ancient Hawaii, men and woman ate their meals apart. Commoners and women of all ranks also were forbidden by the ancient Hawaiian religion to eat certain delicacies. This all changed in 1819, when King Kamehameha II abolished the traditional religious practices. A feast where the King ate with women was the symbolic act, ending the Hawaiian religious tabus, and the luau was born.

Hawaiian luau

The favorite dish at these feasts is what gave the luau its name. Young and tender leaves of the taro plant were combined with chicken, baked in coconut milk, and called luau. These royal luaus tended to be big. In 1847, Kamehameha III hosted one of the largest luaus in Hawaiian history. The list of foods prepared included 271 hogs, 482 large calabashes of poi, 3,125 salt fish, 1,820 fresh fish, 2,245 coconuts, 4,000 taro plants, and numerous other delicacies. King Kalakaua, who was known as the “Merry Monarch” for his love of parties and dance, invited over 1,500 guests to his 50th birthday luau. They were fed in shifts of 500!

Luaus today are not as big as those hosted by Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s, but they are a lot of fun and feature the same traditional foods. Here's a list of recommended luaus on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii.

Source Hawaii
Photo: EMI Hawaii

How to Make a Basic Hawaiian Lei

Hawaiian lei makers use a special lei needle, which is about 10” long (you can order a lei making kit online), but you also can use a large sewing needle. First, cut a 45” piece of dental floss or carpet thread.

Making a lei

Carefully string the flowers together by going through the centers of the flowers, from front to back, and slide them two or three at a time down the string.

When you’ve finished, your lei will be 36” long, giving you enough thread leftover to tie the ends together. Store your lei in a moistened plastic bag, and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

Making a lei


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A Dazzling Feast of News Fit for a King

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Yorktown Community Schools, Delphi Community School Corporation, School City of East Chicago and Taylor Community School Corporation in Indiana recently selected eChalk’s social learning platform to increase community engagement and improve student outcomes, while saving time and streamlining technology systems. With eChalk, Indiana school administrators, teachers and parents can easily and safely connect, communicate and collaborate anytime, anywhere to provide effective, personalized learning experiences for students. eChalk provides personalized tech support and hands-on training to ensure successful implementation and effective technology integration. For more information, visit

Mark Your Calendar

SIIA Ed Tech Industry Summit
May 22-24, 2011, San Francisco
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AEP’s Content in Context Conference
June 6-9, 2011, Washington D.C.
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InfoComm 2011
June 11-17, 2011, Orlando
Register at

ISTE 2011
June 26-29, 2011, Philadelphia
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Beautiful Hawaiian beach view fit for the summertime.

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