Today, Baby K and I celebrated Lei Day by picking out some flowers and stringing K’s first lei. Leis are a symbol of aloha, love, and they are significant to me personally because they remind me of my visits to Hawai’i staying at my grandparent’s place in Waikiki. Both K and I also have the middle name Leilani, meaning heavenly flower. In case you’ve not heard about Lei Day, it is an official holiday in Hawai’i where everyone gets together and celebrates the culture by participating in food, music, dance, lei making and other festivities that are held at Kapi’olani Park on Oahu and at other locations on the major islands.
I thought I’d share how we made K’s first lei in case you’d like to try making your own:
1. We picked out a bunch of flowers from the local market (she really liked the white Mums). Mums worked out great because they were full of petals and didn’t fall apart when strung.
2. We gathered all the materials needed: white cotton thread, optional silk ribbon to tie on each side (if you’d rather tie on the lei) a quilting/lei-making needle, a sturdy pair of scissors and the bouquet of flowers.
3. K took the bunch of flowers apart and then we snipped them off, leaving about a cm left of stem.
4. We strung each flower from the stem up (I helped poke the needle through and K pulled down each flower to the bottom of the lei.
5. I helped push the flowers closer together so that the stems pushed into the flower petals and then tied the two ends together. K tried the lei on and then gave it to me to wear, even giving me a hug as we would do in Hawai’i when giving a lei as a gift of love and aloha!