May Day

is Lei Day at Westin Maui in Kaanapali

Participating in May Day festivities on Monday will be Westin’s Kafa Grijalva (from left), Corienne Keanini, Melissa Los Banos, Jasmine McCoy and Gresilda Harrison. Westin Maui Resort & Spa photo

May Day is Lei Day on Monday. It budded as a holiday in Hawaii back in1929, and it continues to bloom to this day. Islanders across the state commonly celebrate by giving gifts of lei to one another.

Each island has its own symbol that is a color and a flower. For example, Maui is a pink lokelani rose and Oahu is a yellow-orange ilima.

On Monday, Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will go the extra mile for its May Day festivities with the Longest Lei Exchange as a unique experience and potential entry for a Guinness world record, with at least 500 people expected to string along.

“We have purchased 500 orchid lei and we will give them to the first 500 people,” says Director of Public Relations Sumithra Balraj. “You simply show up and register from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. We will offer complimentary parking at Whalers Village next door.”

Then you take the lei and follow the Westin associates to Kaanapali Beach in front of the hotel to form a long line past Whalers to where the last person ends up.

Haku lei are displayed at the resort. Westin Maui Resort & Spa photo

“The first person passes the lei back to the next person and so on until it will becomes the longest lei exchange,” Balraj continues.

“The significance of presenting a lei to another speaks to the authenticity and practice of Hawaiians in celebrating an occasion. In the spirit of aloha, lei exchange by two persons symbolizes the love, respect and friendship shared between them — whether they are family members, couples or friends.”

In addition to the lei exchange, Pamakane Pico of Ocean Dreamer Florals has crafted nine special lei that highlight the diversity of Maui’s scenic settings and experiences featuring locations such as Haleakala, Kula, Hana, Paia, Iao Valley, Makawao, Ulupalakua, Honolua Bay and Kaanapali. You may view the images of the lei via the resort’s Facebook and Instagram social media sites at @TheWestinMaui at your leisure and share at will.

Recognizing the importance of preserving culture in Hawaii, the Westin Maui Resort & Spa is also committing $2,500 to benefit Kula Kaiapuni O Maui Ma Nahi’ena’ena Hawaiian language immersion school in Lahaina. Pegged a “school within a school,” Kula Kaiapuni also implements Hawaii culture and practices in its curriculum.

Monday happenings at Westin

Timeline: The public is invited to check in at 7:30 a.m. at the Aloha Pavilion; then witness a Hawaiian chant and blessing at 8:30 a.m.; line up on the beach fronting the hotel at 8:45 a.m.; participate in the lei exchange with an estimated 500 people at 9 a.m. and enjoy a craft fair and Lei Day activities at 9:30 a.m. at the resort’s open-air Aloha Pavilion.

Complimentary parking: is available next door at Whalers Village Fine Shops and Restaurants. For more details, you may visit the Facebook page @TheWestinMaui.