Making lei is a beautiful tradition of Hawaiian culture. Making lei is a true art that requires focus, technique, and most of all, aloha. If you watch masters of this craft, you would be blown away but what they can create out of flowers and foliage. Lei can be given as gifts for graduations, weddings, birthdays, retirements, etc etc. However, life itself is truly a gift & every day is the best day to wear lei!
There are different types of lei that are created using different techniques. Here are some of the most common types of lei you will find throughout Hawai'i.
Perhaps the most common technique is lei kui. Kui means needle, but it also refers to stringing objects together. This style of lei refers to that which is created by stringing flowers using a needle. Most common flowers used in lei kui are plumeria, awapuhi, pakalana, and pīkake.
A lot of times, people refer to Haku as being a lei worn around the head. However, these lei are actually called Lei Po'o. Haku is a style/techinique used to make a lei, such as a lei po'o. Simply: Lei Haku - technique used to make lei. Lei Po'o - lei worn around the head. Haku means to braid, and also to put in an order - both which are applicable to this technique. Lei Haku uses at least 2 types of flowers and incorporate it into a braided lei.
Lei Wili is another technique often used to make Lei Po'o (lei worn around the head). Wili means to wind and is often used because of the strength and durability it gives to lei. Various types of flowers or foliage are secured to a base by wrapping some type of twine like raffia, string, or even la'i (ti leaf).
Here is a video of us making a Lei Pua Kenikeni using the Lei Kui technique!