Lei court to preside over the lei day

HONOLULU (KHON2) – May 1st is Lei Day in Hawaii. The City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation has appointed the members of the lei court for May 94thth Annual Lei Day celebration.

The lei court will preside over the celebrations at Kapiolani Park on Sunday, May 1 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. The Lei Day celebrations in 2020 or 2021 were held virtually due to the pandemic.

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Lei Day is the celebration of the lei and the spirit of aloha. People wear a lei and people give a lei to someone. Some schools celebrate May Day with music, hula, and their own lei dish.

The theme of the city’s 2022 Lei Day celebrations is Lei Wao Nahele, or Forest Lei. There will be entertainment and a lei contest.

The Lei Court consists of Queen Natalie Brown Ah Quin, First Princess Kalehua Tolentino, and Princess Kēhau Holi-Robb.

They were selected for their lei making ability, hula skills, Hawaiian language skills and personality. They were selected from several candidates who presented themselves for a position in the lei court at a day-long event on Saturday, March 5 at Kapolei Hale.

Queen Natalie Brown Ah Quin owns a flower arranging shop with her husband. The Aiea High School graduate previously ran a commercial photography business. Her hula experience includes dancing for her great aunt Kumu Hula Ku’ulei Clark and dancing with Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire.

First Princess Kalehua Tolentino is the Education and Cultural Curriculum Coordinator for the Queen’s Health System’s Native Hawaiian Health Department. The Mililani High graduate enjoyed Queen’s Ola Hou I Ka Hula program, a hula program for health. Her hula and lei activities include making lei from flowers her grandson collects and dancing to her husband’s music.

Princess Kēhau Holi-Robb teaches early education programs. She previously worked at the Bank of Hawaii. She was active in the King Kamehameha Floral Celebration Parade for many years. Her hula experience includes participating in Hālau nā Mamo o Pu’uanahulu, led by Kumu Sonny Ching and Lopaka Igarta-DeVera.

The role of the lei court is to be the ambassador of aloha for the city at public events. The lei dish will appear at Mauna ‘Ala and Kawaiāha’o Church on Monday, May 2nd.

Some of the other city events they will attend are the Prince Kūhiō Day Parade, Memorial Day Lei Sewing, Lei Draping Ceremony at the Statue of King Kamehameha, Kamehameha Day Parade and the Nā Hula Festival.

As the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person events, the 2020 Lei Day honored first responders from afar. Residents were encouraged to make a lei and attach it to a mailbox, front door, or lanai in honor of first responders.

Lei Day 2021 was celebrated with online video of Lei Day celebrations. The city encouraged people to take photos of their lei and post how long the lei had been on social media with the #leidaycelebration2021 to see how long a lei would be if they were all connected to create one of India held world record by breaking 3.11 miles. How long has the city been given a lei? The city counted 1,516 miles lei. The parks and recreation workers and community draped Booth District Park with 1,600 feet of lei.

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The first lei queen, Nina Bowman, was crowned in 1928 during the tenure of Honolulu Mayor Charles Arnold. The city said Governor Wallace R. Farrington declared May 1 of each year as Lei Day in 1929.

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