What language do natives speak & significance of leis?

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Do natives of Hawaii have their own language ? What is the significane of the lei flower ?

-- Gary Barrett (ultrapms@hotmail.com), January 18, 1999


Response to Language

Hawaiian is a dead language like Latin. But there is a major attempt to revive it. There are Hawaiian language classes for all ages and even a few elementary Hawaiian language emersion schools where only Hawaiian is spoken. It also counts as the language requirement for University of Hawaii.

Leis have symbolized peace, affection, mercy and protection. They are used for ceremonies, marriages, funerals, birthday wishes, promotions. Depending on the type of flower, fern, or vine and the amount of time required to make the lei, it can signify importance or prestige. Some common leis are Moanaloa or carnations for graduation, maile for men for weddings and pikake or pakalana for the women. Plumerias for graves. Plumerias, vandas, tuberose, and ti leaf are used for welcomes, good-byes, thank yous and congratulations. Lei prices can range from a couple of dollars to $75+ for beautiful hakus (leis for your head). Season also plays a part in price ;)

-- Roy Inouye (roy@bothi.com), January 18, 1999.

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