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8 of Hawaii’s most popular Hawaiian lei (garland)

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

The gift of aloha that is now shared worldwide.

These iconic necklaces of flowers that people know as Hawaiian Lei use leaves, shells or feathers and are synonymous with Hawaii thanks to tourism. In ancient Hawaii, the art of making lei originated from Polynesia. It was worn to signify rank and royalty. As time passed, Hawaiian lei were worn to distinguish an individual or a group of people during a ceremony or event. May 1st of every year is known in Hawaii as May Day or Lei Day. Adults and children of all ages gift and wear lei on this special day as it is a tradition in Hawaii. It is widely celebrated to honor the art of lei making and its rich history. Lei are gifts of aloha to someone that you have high regard for to honor them. They are given on occasions such as Graduation, Proms, Luau’s, Birthday’s, Weddings, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Retirement Parties and Funerals. With so many different occasions that lei can be used for and with all the varieties of lei, here are the 8 most popular Hawaiian lei from Hawaii.

1. Purple Single Orchid Lei

็Hawaiian Lei
Orchid Lei

This is probably the most popular and most recognized Hawaiian lei thanks to the media. Made from Dendrobium Orchids, Orchid lei is sturdy and have a long shelf life. Purple Single Orchid Lei is the classic Leis of Hawaii. Simple, beautiful and the most affordable lei. They don’t have any scent and the blooms can be dyed making it universally liked. The robust purple tips and white centers are captivating to look at. It’s commonly seen being gifted at airports or hotels and in magazines or on screen. Luau’s also gift each of their guests one of these leis. The versatility of this lei makes it perfect for anyone for any occasion.

2. Double Tuberose Lei

Tuberose lei is a local favorite for those who enjoy a fragrant lei. The sweet smell from the flowers make them a delight to wear. Unlike the single strand tuberose lei, the double tuberose lei is more full making the recipient more radiant while enhancing the wonderful aroma to all those around the honored individual. This lei is considered to be one of the sturdiest among the fragrant leis and commute the best when shipped to the mainland or Continental US.

3. Maile Lei

There are a few versions of the Maile lei using different leaves and vines to create this leafy lei. Most commonly known are the Hilo, Polynesian and Ti Leaf. Hilo Maile and Polynesian Maile have a nice pleasing scent to them but they can be quite fragile. Their popularity is why they are in short supply when they are available. The Maile Ti Leaf Lei doesn’t have much of a scent but it is more durable and available all year round. These leis are twisted and left open ended ranging between 5 feet to 6 feet long. Lei makers also can wrap them with flower lei upon request. These are frequently seen at weddings and proms.

4. Haku Lei

Haku Lei

This is the “crown” lei which is placed on ones head. The Haku lei seen on social media in exuberant style. It can also be made in a more simple fashion. Even though it’s a modest design, the Haku will make anyone feel like royalty. Wearing a Haku extenuates the beauty of the person wearing it. Tropical flowers in season, orchids, carnations, ti leaf, ferns and Baby’s Breath are commonly used to handcraft this masterpiece. Hawaiians have worn these with pride during hula performances and competitions.

5. Butterfly Lei

This elegant lei is often referred to as the Butterfly lei because of the unique weaving style of the orchid petals. It is delicately made to look like butterfly wings. There is no scent but these leis are durable and can last awhile if stored properly. Recipients stand out when they wear these gorgeous leis at events. They come in natural colors such as purple, white and green. It can be weaved in different color combinations for something different. For those who want to dictate a specific color, the orchid petals can be dyed to achieve a more customized look.

6. Pikake Lei

Don’t let the size of these flowers fool you! When they are strung together into a lei, they pack a punch with their fragrance. Pikake leis, also known as Arabian Jasmine, are sold by strands and the more you put together, the more aromatic it will be. Locals typically buy three strands but it hasn’t stopped them from adding two, three or more strands to them. The lei itself is delicate because of the flowers and are meant to be worn right away. They can be shipped but it’s recommended to use immediately due to their short shelf life.

7. Money Lei

Show me the money! This lei does exactly just that. It is made in various ways and in most versions, the lei is non-perishable. The bills are folded in a similar patter and strategically put together to form the lei. Money leis are most commonly seen at graduations and are worn open ended. They offer the graduate a boastful lei to wear during the day of the ceremony and can be saved as a memory keepsake after. The lei can be made with any denomination and no matter which one is used, it always puts a smile on the recipients face when receiving one. This creative option is thoughtfully used to gift money to a graduate to help with expenses.

8. Micronesian Ginger Lei

This is also known as Mirco Ginger Lei to many. It’s clean, exquisite and sophisticated appearance makes the lei a classy choice. The bud of the ginger flower, also known as Hawaiian Awapuhi, is braided together to create this stylish look. It’s white or yellow in its natural form but the lei can also be complimented with vibrant color using colored petals hugging the ginger buds as they are braided together. Not only is this lei divine, it’s one of the most fragrant leis as well. The delightful scent makes this a gift to remember.

There are so many kind of Hawaiian leis one can choose. It depends on both the occasion and what kind of flowers you prefer. If you are looking for something nice that has a fragrance perhaps a pikake lei or tuberose lei will be ideal, however these are more sensitive and delicate flower leis. If you need leis for a large event then orchid leis will be the best choice because they are durable and affordable. If you want to share the Aloha spirit, please check us out at and next time send lei to loved ones! We ship Hawaiian leis Nationwide.

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