May Day Culture
Lei Giving Etiquette
It is a May Day tradition to give and receive beautiful leis because after all, May Day is Lei Day In Hawaii! However, you don’t want to expose yourself at a celebration by improperly handling your leis - what an embarrassment!! To help you out, here are a few tips on lei-giving etiquette:
- Jenna Maruyama '22
May Day in Schools
In Hawaii, May Day calls for celebration! In schools across the island, the iconic day is celebrated with festivities involving the entire student body. The event is not complete without the royal court and May Day king and queen! The royal court is composed of eight princesses and their male counterparts; each couple represents a Hawaiian island. The court watches over the events of the day and partakes in a group hula dance!
Each couple wears their island’s official color and lei representing a flower or foliage endemic to that island or once thrived there.
May Day is a time of celebration through dance and song. However, not everyone is a dancer, but everyone can sing. Even if you are in the audience at a May Day performance, be prepared to sing. There are many beloved Hawaiian songs and chants that are commonly performed in May Day programs, but I think no May Day program is complete without singing Hawai`i Aloha. Hawai`i Aloha, written by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons, is Hawai`i’s unofficial second anthem. It is usually the last song of every May Day performance (also the last song at many concerts and events). Everyone in attendance will stand and sing the song and in the last chorus, everyone joins hands and raises them above their heads. If you are going to a May Day performance, make sure to know the lyrics of the song and to not give dirty looks to the person next to you if they try to hold your hand (maybe you can now because of Covid).
- Travis Lee '23
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