HONOLULU (KHON2) – May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. The City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation has announced the members of the lei court for the 94th Annual Lei Day Celebration.
The lei court will preside over the festivities at Kapiolani Park on Sunday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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The Lei Day Celebration in 2020 or 2021 were held virtually due to the pandemic.
Lei Day is the celebration of the lei and the aloha spirit. People wear a lei, and people give a lei to someone. Some schools have a May Day celebration with music, hula, and their own lei court.
The theme of the city’s 2022 Lei Day celebration is Lei Wao Nahele or forest lei. There will be entertainment, and a lei contest.
The lei court consists of Queen Natalie Brown Ah Quin, First Princess Kalehua Tolentino, and Princess Kēhau Holi-Robb.
They were chosen based on their lei making ability, hula, Hawaiian language skills, and personality. They were picked out of several candidates who presented themselves for a position on the lei court at a day-long event on Saturday, March 5 at Kapolei Hale.
Queen Natalie Brown Ah Quin owns a floral arrangement business with her husband. The Aiea High School graduate previously had a commercial photography business. Her hula experience includes dancing for her Great Aunt Kumu Hula Ku‘ulei Clark and dancing with Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire.
First Princess Kalehua Tolentino is an education and cultural curriculum coordinator for the Queen’s Health Systems’ Native Hawaiian Health Department. The Mililani High graduate enjoyed Queen’s Ola Hou I Ka Hula Program which is a hula for health program. Her hula and lei making activities include making lei from flowers her grandson gathers, and dancing to her husband’s music.
Princess Kēhau Holi-Robb teaches early education programs. She previously worked at Bank of Hawai‘i. She was active in the King Kamehameha Floral Celebration Parade for many years. Her hula experience includes being a part of Hālau nā Mamo o Pu‘uanahulu under the direction of Kumu Sonny Ching and Lopaka Igarta-DeVera.
The job of the lei court is to be the City’s Ambassadors of Aloha at public events. The lei court will make an appearance at Mauna ‘Ala and Kawaiāha‘o Church on Monday, May 2.
A few of the other city events they will be at include the Prince Kūhiō Day Parade, Memorial Day Lei Sewing, Lei Draping Ceremony at the Statue of King Kamehameha, Kamehameha Day Parade, and the Nā Hula Festival.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in person events, the 2020 Lei Day honored first responders from afar. Residents were encouraged to make a lei and display it on a mailbox, front door, or lanai in honor of first responders.
The 2021 Lei Day was celebrated with an online video of lei day festivities. The city encouraged people to take photos of their leis and post how long the lei was with the #leidaycelebration2021 on social media to see how long of a lei it would be if they were all connected in order to break a world record held by India of 3.11 miles. How long of a lei did the city get? The city tallied 1.516 miles of lei. The parks and recreation staff and community draped Booth District Park with 1,600 feet of lei.
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The first lei Queen Nina Bowman was crowned during Honolulu Mayor Charles Arnold’s term in 1928. The city said Governor Wallace R. Farrington proclaimed May 1 of each year as May Day is Lei Day in 1929.