"May Day is lei day." You’ll hear this refrain often on May 1, when the Hawaiian Islands celebrate the floral garland that embodies the spirit of aloha — a warm, welcoming embrace that comes with a colorful strand of fresh flowers.
That strand can run from elaborate silky orchid petal lei, to fragrant jewels of pikake set off with sprigs of fern, to the simple and heartfelt plumeria (ah, smell that plumeria!). No matter the type, when it’s placed around your neck, it’s the sentiment that counts — an exchange of mana (spirit) between the giver and receiver. When you are greeted with lei, it means we’re happy to see you.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Hawai‘i during Lei Day, it’s easy to celebrate with Outrigger. You’ll find us on the main Hawaiian Islands: Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai. Check with the concierge about joining us for one of our lei making classes. You’ll learn how to make a beautiful lei along with its history and tradition.
The largest May Day event takes place on Oahu. Honolulu County will host the 92nd annual Lei Day Contest at Kapiolani Park from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., where you can view the extraordinary creativity and craftsmanship of the island’s lei makers. (And bonus: It’s a short walk from our Waikiki resorts.)
And if music is your passion, May is an excellent time to visit. Wear the lei you make in our class and join in Mele Mei, a month-long celebration of the music of Hawaii. Outrigger participates with concerts throughout the month by top artists at three venues: the Blue Note, Waikiki Beach Walk (Na Mele No Na Pua), and Kani Ka Pila Grille. It’s the perfect blend of Hawaiian culture for the senses: sound, vision, scent.
An enchanting escape (with enchanting rates) awaits. Explore the Hawaiian Islands here.