Golden lei for 'golden years' at Honolulu's May Day celebration

Updated: May. 1, 2017 at 8:04 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Flowers were everywhere in Kapiolani Park on Monday for 90th "Lei Day" celebration.

This year's theme: "Lei Kula" or "gold lei." The city put on a party to celebrate the golden years.

"We give lei, as you give lei, you give part of yourself to the people that you made that lei for. And they in turn also give part of themselves back to you," said Kaiulani Kauahi, a culture and art coordinator for the city's Department of Parks and Recreation.

Lei makers take so much time and skill to perfect their creations before entering in the city's contest. And the judges know just what they're looking for.

"It's color, texture, how well it's made. The judges will actually lift and shake it up to see if anything falls off," said Kauahi. "They'll also look behind the lei to see how well the lei is made so that it's beautiful on the back, as beautiful as it is on the front."

This year's 'Mayor's Grand Prize' was awarded to William Char. His amazing creation was full of blue hues, including blue jade, hydrangea, and delphinium.

"It's such artistry, really, it's beautiful. The work that goes into it, it's lovely," said visitor Chris Buchanan.

May Day as we now know it started back in 1927 at Bank of Hawaii. A year later, came the first May Day Queen.

This year, Perle Marie Puamohala Kaholokula wears the crown.

"For me, it's to represent everyone here in Hawaii, not just Oahu because every island celebrates May Day," said Kaholokula.  "It's to celebrate our lei, of giving and receiving lei, but also to be gracious and welcome everybody with aloha."

"It's really special, you are so blessed to have this, you really are," added Buchanan.

The annual event also featured a village of Hawaiian artisans to give the public a look at the various lei-making techniques.

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