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The tradition of lei-making continues at the 96th Lei Day Celebration!

Free event scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 1 at Kapi‘olani Park

O‘AHU -- Mayor Rick Blangiardi and the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) welcome everyone to celebrate one of the most recognized symbols of aloha during the 96th Lei Day Celebration! The tradition honoring Native Hawaiian culture and all things lei will be held on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kapi‘olani Park Bandstand.

This year's Lei Day theme of

Komo mai kāu māpuna hoe

(Dip your paddle in), invites everyone to enjoy this free event showcasing the skill and artistry of Hawai‘i's lei makers. The event also features fantastic local entertainment and performances from hula halau. The following is the schedule of events at the bandstand:

9 a.m . - 9:45 a.m.

Royal Hawaiian Band

10 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Kilohana Hula Show by Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement presented by Southwest Airlines

11 a.m .- 12:30 p.m.

Lei Court Ceremony

1 p.m. - 1:35 p.m.

Ei Nei

1:50 p.m. - 2:25 p.m.

Hōkū Zuttermeister

2:50 p.m. - 3:25 p.m.

Hoʻokena

3:40 p.m. - 4:10 p.m.

Mana Maoli Youth Collective

4:10 p.m. -- 4:45 p.m.

Hālau Hula ʻO Hokulani

2024 Lei Queen Tehina Kaʻena Kahikina and her court (Princesses Angela, Makana, Madison, Sara, and Lulani) will reign over this year's festivities. This includes the coveted Lei Contest Exhibit, showcasing some of the world's most exquisite handcrafted lei in a variety of materials, colors, and styles. Those wishing to enter fresh flower lei for the contest must submit them between 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Lei Receiving Booth on the day of the celebration. The public will have an opportunity to experience the exhibit from 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., following the judging of the lei and the official opening of the exhibit by the Lei Court. For more information about the contest and the entire celebration event please visit bit.ly/HonoluluLeiDay

In addition, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association will perform from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lei Exhibit Area, with Hawaiian artisans sharing their talents and skills in the nearby Kūlana Lei village. Vendors and event sponsors offering crafts, lei, and food will be available to the public throughout the celebration.

The closing ceremony for the annual Lei Day Celebration is held on the morning of May 2 at Mauna ‘Ala (The Royal Mausoleum) at 9 a.m., and at Kawaiāha‘o Church at approximately 10:15 a.m. During these events, lei from the Lei Contest are placed on the graves of Hawai‘i's ali‘i (royalty). The public is also invited to attend these events.

Support for this event is provided by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority through the Community Enrichment Program. Mahalo to additional sponsors of this year's celebration, including: Hula Grill Waikīkī, Handcrafters and Artisans Alliance, Friends of Honolulu Parks and Recreation, and Salon 808.

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.

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