May Day is Lei Day

Time to celebrate Hawaiian culture with lei. Myself, I haven’t done anything special for the occasion, and in my limited goings about, I haven’t seen anything marking the day. But I know it’s celebrated and observed.

Today’s the appropriate day that they’re measuring the Guinness World Record attempt for longest lei. This article by Big Island Now was written back in February, but it tells a good story about this Guinness attempt. Reiko and I made our contributions last week when we went to Waikōloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa and wove ti leaf lei for a half hour or so. It was fun. Reiko should have been the activity director. She talked story with the tourists learning lei-making, explaining the symbolism and importance of ti plants. The employee seemed rather introverted and shy. I contributed later by spreading the word a bit, so our friend’s guests went and contributed a few days later.

We didn’t get to see the hose reel with the lei, though. It has been stored in the freezer for months. Someone connects the daily contributions. We heard the reel has gotten really big and heavy. A friend saw it yesterday when it was brought out for display during Waikōloa’s Second Annual Lei Day celebration, but he didn’t take a picture. There’ll probably be something in the media in a day or two, I imagine. I read on the hotel’s Facebook posts that the “first official measurement” (new is the qualifier “first”) tallied just over a mile, two miles short to even tie the record. They plan to carry on.

We finished off April with 10 days of rain in a row (dry, April 29-30, though). I always wonder what tourists do when we have a lot of rain. I guess they can make ti leaf lei indoors, for one thing. Ten days of rain for us doesn’t mean it’s like that everywhere in West Hawai’i. There was a day or two, though, where it rained from before noon and it looked like rain was everywhere, which is unusual. On Friday we got four inches of rain from noon-4:30pm. When we reached the 3-inch mark, I exchanged texts with our friend who lives down the hill and less than six miles away. He only had 3/10 of an inch at that point. That is just so crazy to me. I visualized a cartoon of me sitting under my own personal storm cloud. We both got an inch in the following hour. Anyway, four inches is a lot of rain in a day for Kona, and April had almost 14″, which is a lot in a month. So the coffee land is looking a lot greener and the trees, plants, and weeds are all happily growing.

I’ve been wanting to write more about agroforestry, but that will be a future post. I’ll leave you with a related teaser. The most recent stay-informed email I received from our neighbor, the Hawai’i ‘Ulu Co’op, had this photo of our friend Berta quizzically examining an ‘ulu. The photo was a link to The ‘Ulu Co’op Story in 5 Minutes. She movingly opens the video with Hawaiian storytelling. We see her at Kahalu’u most times we’re there. I always learn from Berta, about marine life, ‘ulu, farming, the past, etc. She’s an amazing, knowledgable, generous woman. I’m sure she’s someone who’d appreciate a special lei.

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