May Brings Lei Day
by Kristin Hashimoto
Each year, the beginning of May signals a Hawai’i tradition that looks and smells good. May 1st, is “He Mo’olelo ko ka Lei,” or A Story of the Lei, at the East Hawai’i Cultural Center.
This event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes lei demonstrations, live entertainment, crafts, art show, food and lei displays.
A “lei,” or flower garland can consist of seeds, flowers, shells or berries. Leaves can also be woven into a wearable work of art. The story of the lei will be told in art, music and other more figurative interpretations, as well as literal lei making designs.
There will be a silent auction and entertainment provided by Hokulani “Aunty Sammi” Fo, Ben Kaili, Bo Lozoff, Cymber Lily Quinn, LeiManu, and Tiana Malone. Across from the cultural center is Kalakaua Park where lei decorating will take place.
Many people have made this day possible. This year’s lei day celebration was in serious trouble when a little over a month ago, the planning committee was told that their budget had been cut. It wasn’t a small reduction; it was the entire budget for the event.
While many people might have given up and let the lei day fade away, the coordinators put out a call to the community. What they received was pure aloha. Numerous volunteers, generous community donations and offers of help have enabled lei day to be shared with the Big Island once again.
The East Hawai’i Cultural Center is located in downtown Hilo at 141 Kalakaua Street. Call 961-5711 for more details.