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The History Behind the Spirit of Aloha and Lei

Hawaiian culture is full of character, generosity, and tradition. Some of the most recognized Hawaiian traditions are Hawaiian lei and the Aloha spirit. But not everyone knows the story behind these beautiful traditions. Here, we’ll explain the history behind the spirit of Aloha and lei.

Brief History of the Aloha Spirit

The word “aloha” is one of the most common Hawaiian phrases people worldwide recognize. However, Aloha is so much more than a word. The meaning behind Aloha symbolizes more than just an average greeting and represents the genuine kindness and generosity of this beautiful culture. The term dates back to the Proto-Polynesian settlers who came to the islands in the early 1800s. Often used as a greeting and farewell, Aloha is also a way of life. Aloha is a symbol of exchanging positive energy, love, affection, and kindness and allows people to connect with one another authentically. The Hawaiian people weave this spirit of Aloha into almost everything they do and the way they live their lives.

Brief History of the Hawaiian Lei

The Hawaiian lei is another major cultural tradition in the islands that is intricately linked to the spirit of Aloha. Early Polynesian settlers were the first to introduce this custom of lei-giving to the Hawaiian culture. In the early days, the Hawaiian lei was commonly used as a peace agreement and symbol of royalty and status. In the early 1900s, during what was known as the “Boat Days,” lei vendors would line up along the pier and gift visitors to the islands with their beautiful flower garlands as a welcome. Over time, this custom continued and became a Hawaiian tradition. Hawaiians also wear the traditional lei for special occasions like birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and funerals. 

How These Traditions Stay Alive

The spirit of Aloha and the Hawaiian lei are both traditions that we still see in the culture today. The Aloha spirit is a philosophy and way of life for the Hawaiian people that they practice every day. The tradition of lei-giving is a common custom during special events and occasions and is also seen in tourism and hospitality. These traditions go hand in hand, representing the brilliant culture of the islands beautifully and inviting the world to experience the kindness, compassion, and generosity of Hawaii and its people. Hawaiians are proud of their culture and history and do a fantastic job of keeping that spirit alive and well in daily life.

Now that you have a brief history of the Aloha spirit and Hawaiian lei, you can better understand these beautiful cultural traditions. Hawaii Lei Stand has a gorgeous selection of traditional lei, including memorial lei, that you can wear for those important life moments.