Your plane touches down in sunny Hawaii. As you disembark, smiling men and women in colorful aloha-wear are holding fragrant flower leis, waiting for you. They welcome you to the islands, and adorn you with a lush orchid or plumeria lei. You step out into the sunshine, ready for your dream Hawaiian vacation. What a paradise! For most visitors, receiving a lei is one of the highlights of their Hawaiian experience. The tradition of visitors receiving a lei as they arrived to the islands began in the days of steamships. Legend has it, if they tossed the lei into the sea as they sailed home past Diamond Head, they would one day return to the islands.
Leis are also a very important part of life for locals. They are given to mark special occasions such as weddings, baby showers, birthdays, retirement, graduations and more. They are a symbol of love, affection and respect. Graduations are always a popular time to give leis, in fact – most seniors receive so many leis, they begin to cover their face! Leis are also worn at weddings – our Hawaii All Inclusive Wedding Packages have the option of flower leis, haku lei (similar to floral crown) or traditional bouquet.
There are many ways to get “lei’d” in Hawaii. The easiest is to book one of our Hawaii All Inclusive Packages! All our Premier All Inclusive Hawaii Packages include a lei greeting. You also receive a shell lei at the luaus in our Packages. There are also lei stands scattered around the islands, and sometimes there will even be a woman stringing leis in Waikiki hotels or restaurants. It is fascinating to watch! When I was growing up in Waikiki, I used to see people out along the Ala Wai Canal in the mornings, gathering plumeria flowers from the many trees that line the water. These plumeria would be part of a fragrant lei by afternoon. There are a couple of locations off the beaten path that are well known for their numerous lei stands. Historic Chinatown, located in downtown Honolulu is one. Shop after shop can be found. Another area is the McCully-Moilili/University neighborhood.
The recent events of 2020 have been extremely difficult for the lei industry in Hawaii. In addition to the many months Hawaii was “closed”, many people put off large weddings, graduations, showers et cetera. These events coupled with tourism are the lifeblood of lei businesses. By choosing to purchase one of our Hawaii All Inclusive Packages, you are not only getting the most out of your Hawaiian adventure, you are also supporting many local businesses, including the lei industry! The absolute best way to enjoy a lei is to receive one as you arrive in Hawaii, however, did you know they can also be shipped to you on the Mainland? Many lei companies have started offering this to supplement lost income due to last year. The next time you have a special occasion, please consider giving a Hawaii flower lei to say: I love you. I will list a few below, all based out of Honolulu.
Cindy’s Lei Shoppe: 808-536-6538
Lin’s Lei Shop: 808-537-4112
Hawaii Flower Lei: 808-833-7807
Hawaiian Lei Company: 808-593-7400