Millions of students graduate each year. From high school, to college to advanced degrees these are joyous celebrations that should be exalted with pride and achievement. In Hawaii giving the graduate a Hawaiian Lei to wear has been a way for them to proudly celebrate their accomplishments and display it with fresh colors of beauty. This tradition has a long history of use that includes any ceremonial event from birthdays, to graduations, to getting a new job as well as farewells after a guest is departing or even a coworker is retiring.
Hawaiian Lei giving is a beautiful cultural icon of Hawaii. The proper way to give lei is for the give to place it around the receiver’s neck and then embrace each other with loving words such as Aloha, or the case of a graduate “congratulations!”
This culture of giving a graduation lei to a graduate has more recently had an appeal in the mainland, USA as no one can argue that it is a beautiful gesture that can be worn and displayed by the graduate. This is unlike the traditional bouquet of flowers given to graduates that limits the amount of bouquets one can hold and eventually gets placed somewhere as the graduate’s hands get tired. Leis are often seen piling on the shoulders so high that the graduate can’t see! In Hawaii there are even instances where there needs to be more than 1 round of taking layers of flower leis off the graduate’s shoulders in order for them to receive more leis from family and friends.
Hawaiian leis are most commonly made from flowers and or leaves such as plumeria, maile tuberose and most popularly dendrobium orchids.
Top 5 Graduation Lei for graduation Celebrations
The most popular lei used for Graduations is the Orchid single Lei. The dendrobium orchid single lei is the most widely used as their strong durability allows them to last long, not break apart easily, and maintain a fresh look even the next day when celebrating at follow up family celebratory dinner. These graduation leis come in a wide range of natural colors such as purple, lavender, white, and green, which can be mixed in sequence to appeal to the eye or match someone’s outfit.
More recently, the dyed Hawaiian orchid leis have become a hit with its strong vibrant colors ranging from red, yellow, blue, orange, pink etc. This allows for leis to be made with one’s school colors in an alternating pattern which allows a much more meaningful gift and appearance.
Within the category of Hawaiian orchid leis you have many styles of uniquely woven patterns such as the elegant Christina to the intricate spiral and the alluring butterfly , Feather leis and Alana leis. These leis have a range of prices, however they are known for their exquisite and eye catching designs. These Hawaiian fancy lei truly make the individual wearing it stand out in a crowd with an immediate look of level and stature.
4. Double orchid lei
This lei has gained tremendous popularity for graduations as its robust and thick pattern makes a bold and beautiful visual display unlike any other style of lei. The Hawaiian double lei is also known for its strength and durability. It is a very sturdy lei that can withstand the physical handling of celebrations with multiple hugging and jumping for joy other more delicate leis often begin to tear, pull or snag where the double lei endures all proudly displaying itself on the individual.
This lei represents elegance and purity with its pure white flower appearance. It is also known for its feminine smell and in general is a more female worn lei. The pikake lei comes in strands interwoven together to form ropes and the person can decide how thick they want the rope of pikake to be. This can be worn to match an outfit and has a very delicate yet time-honored traditional look of experience.
5. Maile Lei
This handsome lei which grows only in remote valleys and cool mountain hillsides of Hawaii is a traditional lei used for many esteemed celebrations. It is loved by the people of Hawaii and was once a symbol of Hawaiian royalty. This is an open ended lei which allows a flow of energy and radiance to come in and out of the person who wears it. The maile lei is a long lei that measures approximately 5 feet in length. This Hawaiian Maile Lei is seen often worn by both groom and bride during wedding ceremonies and truly marks a person for their achievements with its length further referencing a person’s growth in their celebrated accomplishment.