If you’re a baby boomer like me, then this vintage photo from LIFE Magazine might bring back memories. It’s how I remember celebrating May Day, growing up.
May 1st is May Day, and is celebrated around the world, on this day. With celebrations ranging from Maypole dancing to rallies commemorating workers’ union efforts.
But here in Hawaii, May Day is Lei Day.
It’s a day of celebration with flowers, leis, and the Hawaiian culture that eludes aloha.
Hawaii’s May Day celebration, known as Lei Day, dates back to 1927, when writer and poet Don Blanding suggested creating a day dedicated to honoring lei-making and the Hawaiian custom of wearing the lei.
A fellow writer Grace Tower Warren came up with the idea of a holiday on May 1 in conjunction with May Day, and she is also responsible for the phrase, “May Day is Lei Day.”
In 1929, Lei Day was made an official holiday in the territories of Hawaii, a tradition which was interrupted only during the years of World War II.
Celebrations are held throughout the islands, and many celebrations are also held at local schools.
At Max’s, Hanalei School, each year they hold their very own May Day celebration. Crowning their May Day king and queen, from the sixth grade class. Princesses and their boy escorts are chosen from each of the other grade levels to complete their court.
Each grade level performs a traditional Hawaiian dance, and is adorned in a different color. Each color represents one of the eight main Hawaiian Islands.
Pink ~ Maui
Yellow ~ Oahu
Purple ~ Kauai
Green ~ Molokai
Orange ~ Lanai
Gray ~ Kahoolawe
White ~ Niihau
Here are a couple photos of Max and his classmates at last year’s Hanalei School May Day Celebration.
Max takes his dancing for May Day quite serious.
This year, Hanalei School’s May Day Celebration will be held on May 11, and will be Max’s fourth year.
And you know I’ll be there with my camera and lei on!
Happy May Day!
Happy Lei Day!