City selects first ever Lei King

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Ahead of May Day, the city is crowning its lei court. For the first time, we have a lei king!

Jordan Keonaona Salis took the title on Saturday.

He’s actually the first male to enter competition since the city changed its rules a few years ago to open up the competition to everyone, not just a lei queen.

The winner is chosen based on their lei-making skills, English and Hawaiian language proficiency, hula, poise, and personality.

“It’s amazing, its such an honor to represent my ohana, my ancestors on this special day,” said Salis. “I’m so glad I’m able to take on the role as the first lei king for the City and County of Honolulu.”

As lei king, Salis will preside over the city’s 93rd annual lei day celebration festivities.

That’s happening May 1 at Kapiolani Park.

The first Lei Day was celebrated on May 1, 1927,with a few people wearing lei in downtown Honolulu. Over time, more and more people began to wear lei on May 1, and thus began the tradition of May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. The first lei Queen, Miss Nina Bowman, was crowned by Honolulu Mayor Charles Arnold in 1928.

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