aloha to the merry month of may

In Hawai’i, children and sweethearts are also referred to as "lei." (photo: Makena G.)

Wow. Seems like I just wished you a "Happy Lei Day," and now the month of May is coming to an end.

Just in case you’re cruising by on this long weekend, thought I’d serve up a little snack. Here are several pics from this year’s Lei Day Festival in Hawai’i. They had their usual lei making contest at Kapiolani Park on Oahu, and I must say how impressed I am with the high level of artistry and creativity displayed in the entries.

I may be just a tad biased, but I do think Hawai’i has the best lei artisans in the world, when you consider the variety of materials used (flowers, seeds, leaves, pods, vines, shells, fronds), and the various techniques employed (weaving, tying, sewing, twisting, knotting). The result — a blend of color, texture and composition that is simply breathtaking!

photo: U Jay.

Lei Hat Division Winner photo by colleeninhawaii.

Above five photos from My PHOTOlulu’s photostream.

Mayor’s Grand Prize Lei Winner photo by colleeninhawaii.

When I was little, I remember we were asked to bring a simple plumeria lei to school for Memorial Day. These were collected and taken to Punchbowl or other cemeteries to adorn plaques and headstones. Today, whenever a large quantity of leis is made for either Lei Day or Aloha Week, etc., they are often taken to the cemeteries after the event is over — a perfect way to "recycle" them.

I also wanted to share this short video with you about Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English). I’ve blogged a little about it before, but this will give you a better idea of what it sounds like, how it originated, and why it’s the "glue" that binds all the different ethnic groups together. It’s pretty cool when you think about it — a unique language that evolved out of sheer necessity, used right alongside standard English in the Islands.

Of course this "snack" wouldn’t be complete without an edible treat. Help yourself to some mochi and manju (Japanese confections made with rice flour and sweet bean fillings)! Nom nom. Enjoy the weekend!

 photo: kathyylchan.

Thanks to Sylvia W. for the video link!

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.