Each of the major Hawaiian Islands has a lei, treasured as its own.
Kaua'i The mokihana lei represents the Island of Kaua'i. The fruit of
the mokihana tree may be found seeking direct sunlight only in the wild and only
in the tropical rainforests of the Island of Kaua'i and the Big Island. Its
anise scented, leather fruit must be strung within a few hours of picking and
often serves as a sachet.
Known as the "Garden Island", Kaua'i is often regarded as the most scenic of all the islands; it is smaller than the other major islands, but with the same physical features. The island is easily accessible by car and almost everything is within a two hour drive; it's a picture perfect spot for honeymooners and those wishing to escape a hectic lifestyle. Take time and visit the stunning Kalalalau Valley on the na Pali Coast with its awesome cliffs and Waimea Canyon.
The official lei of the
Island of O'ahu is the fragrant ilima. It is composed of hundreds of flowers
strung together so only the edges are seen. Each requires many, many hours of
work. In ancient times, ilima leis were only worn by high chiefs. Today the lei
is often given to public officials.
Moloka'i Any plant the
ancient voyaging Polynesians chose to bring had to serve many useful purposes.
Among the kuku tree's many uses, its bark, flowers, and nuts are all used
medicinally. Also, its white flowers, fruit, and leaves are strung as the kukui
lei, which represents Moloka'i, whose symbolic color is a silvery green.
"Kauna'oa kahakai" translates to "the
beach orphan vine". It is an entwining vine having tiny white blossoms and may
be found along roadsides and beaches, growing over plants and even up trees as
it seeks direct sunlight. The strands are twisted, then twined over each other,
forming kauna'oa, the official lei of the Island of Lana'i.
Introduced in the early 1800's,
this beautiful flower was soon called lokelani (heavenly rose) by the
Hawaiians who were fascinated by its color and fragrance. The Territorial
Legislature officially established the lokelani as the flower of Maui in 1923.
It is greatly prized and often worn in haku leis (a method of lei making which
involves intertwining flowers with greenery) for parades, special holidays, and
Big Island Lehua
blossoms grow on the native ohi'a, the first tree daring enough to sprout from a
new lava field. The pom-pom stamens are sacred to the volcano goddess Pele and
were used by the ancient Hawaiians in a potion to lessen the pain of childbirth.
The red, salmon, pink, or yellow flowers are quite showy and energetically
participate in the Big Island of Hawai'i's official lei.
The "Forbidden Isle"
Island Flower: Pupu - White pupu shells found along the shoreling of the rocky island are pierced and strung on cords to form this lei.
The "Forbidden Isle"
Island Flower: Hinahina
Wear a lei, share a lei, give a lei.
Whether you are in Hawaii or elsewhere.
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