Lei History

Some call it a gift. Others, a symbol. At Aloha Island Lei, we simply call it a tradition. The history of the Hawaiian lei dates back to the first Polynesian settlers, who introduced the lei to the Hawaiian Islands as a sentiment of love, friendship, celebration and in honor of the Hawaiian Gods.

It is said that ancient Hawaiians adorned themselves in variations of braided leafs, flowers, feathers, shells, seeds and nuts to differentiate the various classes of royalty. The most significant of all was the Maile lei, which was used as peace offerings between battling chiefs and on sacred events such as weddings, ceremonies and rituals.

Crafted by hand and carefully weaved, these fragrant beauties are treasured by all and are now worn for just about any occasion. Today, popular events like Lei Day, which is celebrated on the 1st of each May, honors lei making and its customs with lei contests, traditional hula and Hawaiian music. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a week long celebration, is a visual treat showcasing various leis worn by acclaimed halau hula from across the islands.

Legends say if a departing visitor tossed their lei into the ocean and it floated back to shore, the person would someday return. We welcome you to discover and share the Aloha spirit through our collection of fresh Hawaiian leis.