Tradition: marking milestones with lei

Leila Ebato, Reporter

Hawaii is unlike any other state when it comes to traditions such as parties, graduations, or any celebration. One tradition that is important to the people who live in Hawaii is giving lei on special occasions. “A lei is a common symbol of love, friendship, celebration, honor or greeting. In essence. It is a symbol of Aloha.” (Skyline Hawaii) 

Graduation season is the time when people come together and celebrate an accomplishment of someone important to them. Although everyone around the world may celebrate graduations, they all celebrate it differently. 

Krishelle Ramos, a James Campbell High School sophomore said, “One Hawaii tradition that I do is showing affection to my older relatives on their graduation by giving a lei to them. I honestly feel like if we stopped lei ceremonies, then graduations/honoring ceremonies just wouldn’t feel the same. Lei ceremonies symbolize showing someone love, respect and gratitude, and I just feel like it would be disrespectful towards our elders to not lei them on their big day, such as graduation. It would bother me a bit, just because my family always does the tradition of honoring each other with a lei, and I would want that tradition to continue.” Krishelle highlights the importance of giving lei to others because it is not only tradition in Hawaii but is a way to honor their loved ones. 

Erica Ramos, a senior at James Campbell High School said, “I would feel sad if I didn’t get a lei because receiving one feels like you’ve accomplished something in life and by not receiving one, it would make me feel like I didn’t achieve anything.” 

Graduating in Hawaii is different from anywhere else Erica said, “The mainland doesn’t celebrate graduations or any celebration with lei the way we do, so I feel that celebrations are taken seriously and more extreme here than on the mainland.” It is the Hawaii tradition to give lei to others on special days, and it would feel different if it wasn’t celebrated this way because it has been celebrated like this since forever. 

Krishelle Ramos and Erica Ramos talk about the importance of giving and receiving lei during graduation season. Traditions are celebrated in numerous ways around the world and have their own importance to each individual. People in Hawaii have seen others receive lei as extreme as a family size chip bag lei, a ramen noodle cup lei, and money lei. All in all, Hawaii celebrates traditions in a more extreme way than anyone else does, Krishelle and Erica emphasized this statement.