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A Celebration of Lei & Tradition

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In the heart of Hawai'i, beats a cultural tradition as vibrant as the islands themselves – the art of lei making. An art that spans beyond flower necklaces or adornments, lei represent a connection to the islands, a weaving together of people and community, and a celebration of culture and art. The hope is that through every lei, a story is told, the Polyneisan culture is honored and aloha is shared.

A Legacy of Aloha

Lei making holds a profound significance in Polynesian culture, dating back centuries to the Polynesian voyagers who first settled these beautiful islands. Each island nation of Oceania have their own versions of lei traditions, originally crafted from native flowers, leaves, shells, and even feathers, lei were symbols of respect, love, and celebration. They were exchanged to mark important occasions, welcome visitors, and honor the gods throughout Polynesia.

Over time, the art of lei making evolved, influenced by the diverse cultural tapestry that makes up modern Hawai'i. Today, lei are crafted from a wide array of materials, including non-native but local flowers like plumeria and pakalana, puakenikeni & pikake, as well as native and canoe plant elements like kukui nuts, ti and the now endangered bloom of the ‘ohia lehua. Each lei remains a testament to the islands' rich history and the spirit of aloha.

Honoring Tradition Through Practice

Recognizing the importance of honoring and celebrating this cultural legacy of lei making is a piece to the puzzle towards ensuring these arts do not get lost. In order to honor our lei makers and the art of lei making, we’re excited to announce our upcoming Lei Po’o workshops here at Common Ground. These workshops are not just about crafting beautiful lei po’o; they are about fostering community, sharing stories, and passing down knowledge from one generation to the next.

During our workshops, participants will have the opportunity to learn the art of lei making, the work that goes into the gathering of materials and share flowers and stories around the table with light refreshments from our farm. They will discover the significance of different lei styles and materials, as well as the ‘lei’bor of love involved in crafting lei. Whether you are a visitor to the islands or a lifelong resident, our workshops provide a meaningful way to connect with Hawai'i's culture and create something truly special.

A Cultural Experience

More than just a souvenir, a handmade lei represents the personification of aloha, the act of making, giving and receiving lei is something that no other place has, it is a connection to the islands and the people who call them home. It is a gesture of aloha, a gift of beauty and hospitality that transcends language and culture. By learning the art of lei making, participants not only gain a new skill but also celebrate and honor a tradition that spans generations.

E komo mai 

We invite you to join us at Common Ground Kaua'i for our lei making workshops. Whether you're interested in learning a new craft, celebrating a special occasion like a bridal party, a birthday or just a fun outing with your closest friends, our workshops offer an unforgettable experience for all. Come discover the art of lei making and help us honor this cherished tradition for generations to come.

Mahalo piha

In closing, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the artisans, cultural practitioners, and community members who keep the spirit of lei making alive. A special shout out to Meleana Estes for bringing this vision to the forefront here at Common Ground, her love for lei and for continuing to share it with all. Together, we celebrate Hawai'i's rich heritage and ensure that its traditions continue to thrive and be celebrated. Join us in honoring the past, embracing the present, and crafting a future filled with aloha.

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