Every birthday is special, and every birthday deserves a celebration. When your birthday or the birthday of a loved one rolls around, there are many ways to make the day extra special. One way is to add a traditional Hawaiian Birthday lei to the festivities. Even if there is no party, having a lei to wear on a birthday makes the day feel more festive. The look and smell of a fragrant lei is a great reminder of the sweetness of life as well as the affection of the person who gave it.
The Hawaiian lei is an ancient symbol of respect and love. It has long been used at celebrations to symbolize everything from the wearer’s rank to the love between two people. Today, many people wear them simply because they are beautiful to look at and fun to wear. Wearing them on a birthday adds a sweet token of affection to the day and makes it feel more festive.
Celebrating a baby’s first birthday is a particularly big occasion in Hawaii. Having a luau or other big party of the baby’s special day always involves fun, food and leis for the family and the guests. The lei can be presented to the baby as a part of a birthday ceremony, or the parents can give each other leis to wear. Often, leis are presented to each person who attends the party as a sign of welcome and respect.
Birthday Leis for Men
Sometimes, men prefer not to have a floral lei to wear to a birthday party. Many hosts offer masculine lei choices for these occasions. Masculine leis are often made from maile or ti leaves. Many men choose lei made from kukui nuts. These are round, dark nuts that make long-lasting lei that are perfect for birthday parties. Another option for men is the cigar flower lei. This uses many small, tubular flowers to make a unique lei that has no smell. If it’s a man who has a birthday, he may enjoy a maile lei, traditionally worn by chiefs as a symbol of peace and goodwill.
Birthday Leis for Women
Many women prefer a fragrant lei. These are generally lei that are made from fresh flowers. The type of flowers used for birthdays can be virtually anything that is pretty and fun to wear. Many people enjoy the soft feel and smell of carnations. Other prefer the exotic beauty of the orchid. Some women would like a long-lasting lei such as one made from seeds or nuts so they can keep the lei and remember their special day.
Wearing the Birthday Lei
A lei is properly worn by hanging it over the shoulders with the same amount falling down the back as down the front. This position is the traditional way to wear the lei, and it is still considered the proper way. The lei is presented to the recipient with a kiss on the cheek or a welcoming hug. Anytime you give a birthday lei, you are giving them a piece of the aloha spirit and showing them that they are special to you.