Hawaii and the exchanging of leis.
Reprinted from Hawaiian Island Weddings - Lei Etiquette http://www.hawaiianislandweddings.com/leietiquette.html
The proper way to wear a closed lei is on the shoulders where it is draped half in front and half down the back. Open leis are worn with the middle of the lei hanging in the middle of the neck and the open ends evenly down the front.
You do not need a special occasion to wear a lei. A lei can be worn anytime by anyone.
It is acceptable to purchase or make a lei for yourself.
When giving a lei as a gift it is customary to give the lei recipient a kiss on each cheek when adorning them in their lei.
It is acceptable to wear more than one lei at a time. This is common for a birthday and a graduation celebration.
Leis made with leaves from a ti (pronounced tee) plant are considered to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
DO NOT refuse a lei when offered one. This is considered to be disrespectful.
DO NOT wear a lei you intend to give to someone else. This is considered to be bad luck.
DO NOT give a pregnant woman a closed lei, it is believed to bring bad luck and symbolize the umbilical cord around the baby's neck. Only give a pregnant woman an open ended lei. We will create any closed lei as an open ended lei upon request.
Bows are often added to closed leis and can be worn a few ways:
- They can be worn in the back like a clasp on a necklace.
- They are usually worn to the side. If worn to the side it should be on the right side if single and on the left if married or spoken for.
Leis can be worn more than once. Fresh leis should be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator between uses to keep it fresh. It can be lightly misted to keep it hydrated.
Leis can be incorporated into a wedding ceremony to symbolize the uniting of the couple and/or their friends and families.
Leis can also be incorporated into a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah ceremony to recognize the guest of honor as well as their family.
It is appropriate to incorporate leis in a funeral ceremony or Memorial Service. This is something that is done at funerals in the Hawaiian Islands and in other Polynesian cultures as a symbolic way to say Aloha, goodbye, to a loved one. Any lei is appropriate to use because all leis symbolize love, respect and appreciation.
A lei may also be symbolic of a special experience and place you shared with your loved one that you will always cherish.