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Video:Celebrate May Day as Lei Day in Hawaii

with John Fischer

Experience Hawaii's annual celebration of the lei, Lei Day, held on May 1st when much of the rest of the world celerates May Day.See Transcript

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Transcript:Celebrate May Day as Lei Day in Hawaii

Hello, I'm John Fischer, your Guide to Hawaii for Visitors at About.com.

While the rest of the world celebrates the first of May as May Day, May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.

Lei Day History

Early in the morning lei vendors set up their booths at Kapiolani Park on the island of Oahu.

A holiday centered around the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei was the idea of writer and poet Don Blanding. It was, however, fellow writer Grace Tower Warren who came up with the idea of a holiday on May 1 in conjunction with May Day.

In 1929, Lei Day was made an official holiday in the territory of Hawaii, a tradition only interrupted by World War II and today celebrated across the islands.

Who Attends Lei Day

Each year, craftspeople from Oahu gather to demonstrate their arts and just talk story with each other and visitors to the festival.

Lei Day Schedule

The official celebration begins at midday when a kumu hula or hula master leads a chant top open the festivities. This is followed by the introduction of the year's Lei Queen and her court.

As is tradition, the outgoing Lei Queen dances a hula in honor of her successor.

This is followed by other participants joining in hula.

Lei Day Features

An area of Kapiolani Park is designated to display the many leis which have been made as part of the annual lei-making competition. As is tradition, these leis are placed on the Royal Masoleum in Nuuanu the next morning.

What is Lei Day without song. As the Royal Hawaiian Band sings, May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.

Thanks for watching. To learn more about Lei Day in Hawaii, visit us on the Web at GoHawaii.About.com.
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