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Lei Day Celebration themes, featured flora selected for next four years

Themes based on voyaging proverbs in honor of Hōkūle‘a's Moananuiākea journey

O‘AHU -- Like a gardener tending their pāka (plants) ahead of lei making, or the crew of a wa‘a (canoe) charting their course ahead of a voyage, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is pleased to announce the themes and featured flora for the next four Lei Day Celebrations!

Celebrated on first day of May, each annual Lei Day Celebration embraces a particular theme and coinciding flower or plant. In conjunction with the Hōkūle‘a's Moananuiākea journey circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean, DPR has selected voyaging proverbs from Mary Kawena Pukui's

‘Ōlelo No‘eau to guide the Lei Day Celebration themes from 2024-2027. They include:

  • 2024 (96th Celebration)

Theme:

Komo mai kāu māpuna hoe

Translation: Dip your paddle in (join in the effort)

Theme material:

kī or ti (

Cordyline fruticosa)

Lei Court: ʻŌpio (age 18 -- 30)

  • 2025 (97th Celebration)

Theme:

Hoʻokahi ka ʻilau like ʻana

Translation: Wield the paddles together (work together)

Theme material: hau (

Hibiscus tiliaceus)

Age: Mākua (age 31 -- 45)

  • 2026 (98th Celebration)

Theme:

Mai ka hoʻokuʻi i ka hālāwai

Translation: From zenith to horizon (invoking spirits form everywhere)

Theme material: ʻuala or sweet potato (

Ipomoea batatas)

Age: Mākua oʻo (age 46 -- 60)

  • 2027 (99th Celebration)

Theme:

Pae mai la ka waʻa i ka ʻāina

Translation: The canoe has come ashore (satisfied hunger, desire)

Theme material: kou (

Cordia subcordata)

Age: Kūpuna (age 61+)

Theme materials correlate with particular categories of the prestigious Lei Contest. We encourage all lei makers to plan out their lei garden for the next four years so that the materials are ready and available as the particular Lei Day Celebration approaches.

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 Hawai‘i." The first Lei Queen, Miss Nina Bowman, was crowned by Honolulu Mayor Charles Arnold in 1928. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when large, in-person events were restricted, our island community found innovative ways to celebrate this uniquely Hawaiian holiday. This included a video presentation to mark Lei Day in 2021, and the Nā Lei Koa in 2020 to honor our first responders.

For more information about the Lei Day Celebration, Lei Court, and an amazing historical write-up of the history of Lei Day in Hawai‘i visit bit.ly/HonoluluLeiDay

To request auxiliary aids or services, accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please contact the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email parks@honolulu.gov at least three business days before the scheduled event. Please note that we may not be able to fulfill requests without sufficient advance notice.

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