Using only the stars to guide their canoes, early Polynesian voyagers who settled in Hawaii were some of the first people to create and wear leis. Little did they know that hundreds of years later, the tradition of wearing and giving leis would be stronger than ever!
A Brief History of the Lei
Initially, the first Polynesian settlers on Hawaii wore leis in order to make themselves more beautiful, distinguish certain groups from others, and as a sign of affection. When someone from another town would visit, presenting them with a lei was a way of symbolically welcoming them as a part of the group.
The Maile lei is one of the most significant leis in Hawaiian culture. Among its many uses, the Maile lei was most commonly used when worshiping the gods or given from one chief to another as a symbol of peace in times of war. For that reason, maile remains one of the most popular lei materials still used today. Continue Reading…