May Day is Lei Day in Hawai‘i Nei. The first Lei Day was in 1927 and celebrated in downtown Honolulu with a few people wearing lei as a symbol of friendship and goodwill. From that it grew and more and more people began to wear lei on May 1.
To continue celebrating the spirit of aloha, the Mayor of Honolulu Mayor Charles Arnold crowned the first lei queen, Nina Bowman, in 1928. After a few years, the City & County of Honolulu started a tradition of hosting an Annual Lei Queen Selection Event in March. The Lei Queen is later crowned at the City’s Annual Lei Day Celebration on May 1. Lei Day has become an important cultural event
celebrating the Hawaiian culture through various themes. The theme for the 83rd Annual Lei Queen Selection was He Lei No Ka‘ahumanu (A Lei for Ka‘ahumanu). Each year, the lei queen is selected from one of the three rotating groups:
• Nā Wahine Ōpio
(The Younger Women, 18-30 years)
• Nā Mōkuahine
(The Adult Women, 31-54 years)
• Nā Kūpunahine
(The Grandmothers, 55 and over.)
This year’s event featured the Nā Kūpunahine. On March 12th, six lovely Kūpunahine vied for top honors in this year’s Lei Queen Selection Event at the McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Regional Park. The entertaining event celebrated Hawaiian culture, and featured live music and an open hula period.
Each lady was scored on her lei making, hula, poise and personality, Hawaiian language skills and their ability to convey the spirit of aloha with warmth and dignity. This year’s Lei Queen is Sandrina Lei Ilima Cabato De La Cruz. Lei Queen Ilima is Hawaiian, Filipino and Chinese ancestry and grew up in Kalihi and Na¯na¯kuli. She is an administrative assistant for Parents and Children Together (PACT), and is a student at Windward Community College.
The Investiture Ceremony is on May 1st (Lei Day). Sandrina will also make public appearances throughout the year, including the Annual Kamehameha Day Parade, June 11, 2011 (tentative date) and the annual Na¯ Hula Festival, August 6 & 7, 2011 (tentative date).