May Day celebrates tropical beauty of Hawaii

Staff Sgt. Carla Kapohuolahaina Grizzle
435th Logistics Readiness Squadron

***image1***Have you ever heard, “May Day is lei day”? That is the saying in Hawaii in the month of May, a time for celebrating and displaying exotic tropical flowers by making leis.
The first noted May Day in Honolulu, Hawaii, was held May 1, 1928. In May it seemed all the tropical flowers of Hawaii just bloomed to ten times their usual beauty. I remember, each year in elementary school all the students would perform a hula dance, play Hawaiian games, and have lei contests.
In addition, teachers requested each student to wear one lei and bring one or two. The additional leis, in the thousands, were given to the Hawaii Boy Scouts, who put them on the gravestones of fallen American Soldiers buried in Punch Bowl Memorial Cemetery.
Most of the flowers used to make the thousands of leis were picked from the actual backyards of the children’s homes. My backyard had four plumeria trees that grew the common yellow and white flowers and burgundy and pink plumeria flowers. The flowers of Hawaii are part of the beauty of Hawaii.
The May Day program also includes the different islands of Hawaii. All May Day programs have a king, queen and eight royal attendants representing each island and their respective flower.
The eight islands and flowers are: Hawaii Lehua (red or white flower that grows on the slopes of the volcanoes on the Big Island), Kaui – Mokihana (actually a fruit of berries that only grow on the trees of Kaui), Kaho’olawe – Hinahina (a silver-gray flower only found on the beaches of Kaho’olawe), Lani – Kaunaoa (an orange vine-like flower), Maui – Lokelani (also known as “rose of heaven” because of its sweet scent), Molokai – Kukui (a lei of Kekui nuts sometimes woven with flowers), Ni’ihau – Pupu (white pupu shells found on all shorelines of Hawaii), and O’ahu – Ilima (a yellow/orange lei with velvety leaves sewn together).
Hawaii has many great customs and traditions that rejoice in the beauty of Hawaii. “May Day is lei day,” a day celebrating the many beautiful and tropical flowers of Hawaii.

Asian Pacific Heritage events
• Ramstein Commissary food tasting and mini show, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
• Ramstein Community Center fashion show and mini show for kids, 5 p.m. Monday.
• Ramstein Library story telling and crafts, 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays in May.
• Martial Arts tournament and mini show, 1:40 p.m. May 8 at the Ramstein Youth Center Ramstein Enlisted Club Kid’s Club night Hawaiian luau, 5 p.m. May 12.
• Bowl A Thon, 11 a.m. May 14 at Vogelweh Bowling Center.
• Vogelweh Community Center Family Night mini show, 6 p.m. May 15.
• APAH Dinner Banquet at Armstrong’s Club, 6 p.m. May 21.
• Parade mini-show, 10 a.m. May 22.
• APAH Golf Tournament at Woodlawn Golf Course, 8 a.m. May 27.