All over the world, different people and cultures have unique ways of honoring their lost loved ones. In Hawaii, the traditional lei plays a vital role in funerals and memorial services. Here’s how memorial lei pay respect to the deceased.
Memorial Lei Symbolism
There are several different kinds of Hawaiian lei for various occasions. Funerals and memorials are one of the major events where people wear lei as a sign of respect. When people wear memorial lei, it symbolizes love, affection, honor, and respect for their lost loved one. This Hawaiian tradition of wearing lei to funerals and memorial services is a beautiful way to pay tribute to the deceased and celebrate their beautiful life. The most common lei you will see Hawaiians wearing at a funeral are maile lei, ti-leaf lei, and orchid lei.
Traditional Lei Throwing
One of the common ways to pay respect to the deceased in Hawaii is traditional lei throwing. Lei throwing is a practice where people throw lei into the ocean to honor their lost loved ones. Some people will throw the whole lei into the water, while others will take the flowers off the lei and scatter them in the ocean. All those beautiful flowers floating in the water are a remarkable sight. This tradition is a powerful and thoughtful way to pay your respects to the departed.
Another Hawaiian memorial tradition that people partake in to pay respects is paddle-out ceremonies. Paddle-outs are floating memorial services that take place in the ocean. People initially had these ceremonies for surfers, and the surfing community would get onto their boards and paddle out into the ocean to honor the deceased. However, you can also hold a paddle-out ceremony for people who are not surfers. During these ceremonies, people gather in a circle in the water on their surfboards, kayaks, and paddle boards and say a few words to pay their respects. Then when the ceremony is over, everyone throws lei into the water.
Now that you know how Hawaiian memorial lei honor the departed, you can join in on this beautiful tradition. Check out Hawaii Lei Stand’s selection of Hawaiian funeral lei to honor your lost loved ones.