A History of Sharing Aloha
The custom of the flower lei was introduced to Hawai'i from the various surrounding Polynesian islands and Asia. Early Polynesians used them for beauty and to distinguish themselves from others. They exchanged lei with one another to show welcome, friendship, and love.
Today, we share lei as symbols of congratulations and affection.
Always graciously accept a lei given as a gift and know it is considered impolite to remove a lei from your neck in the presence of the person who gave it to you. If you are allergic or sensitive to flowers, discreetly and apologetically slip off the lei and offer it to your spouse or hang the lei in a place of honor.
Wearing of Lei
The proper way to wear a lei is gently draped over the shoulders, hanging down both in front and in back.
After the Event
Traditionally, flower lei are returned to the place the flowers were gathered; since this is not always possible, lei may be hung in trees or floated on waters after wearing. Before tossing lei into the ocean, untie the string and push the flowers off as the string may harm precious marine life. Lei may also be left in a window to dry, allowing the natural fragrance to fill the room.