Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: How to celebrate Lei Day, Oahu goes virtual + MORE!

Welcome to the Lei Day special of Travel Weekly‘s Aloha Friday Wrap. So, prepare your plumeria and pikake flowers and enjoy a swathe of authentic Hawaiian experiences from home.

HTO invites Aussies to #ShareAloha with family and friends on Lei Day

Across the Hawaiian Islands, Lei Day is celebrated on 1 May annually, recognising Hawaiian culture and the traditions of kindness and hospitality.

A lei is a necklace of fresh flowers, shells or nuts that is created as a gift and shared as a token of love, congratulations, welcome or farewell. Lei Day is an annual tribute to this culturally iconic symbol of Hawaii’s aloha spirit.

Aloha can be created in an instant through a decision to act with kindness. Hawaii Tourism Oceania is inviting Aussies to celebrate and brighten up someone’s day through an act of aloha.

Read what Hawaii Tourism Oceania’s country manager for Australia had to say here.

Four ways to celebrate Lei Day with Hawaiian Airlines

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Heather Goodman

Every year on 1 May, communities statewide come together for one of Hawaii’s most colourful celebrations of culture and aloha.

May Day is Lei Day in the Hawaiian Islands, and it’s a special time when people in Hawaii are tightly strung together by lei and hospitality.

Festivals are held throughout the islands, the smell of fragrant flowers and fresh greenery lingers in the air, music is shared, and a love for our island home reverberates far and wide.

While this year’s celebration will be limited by Hawaii’s government restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lei Day lives on.

Hawaiian Airlines has come up with a few ways for people from all over the world to celebrate Lei Day virtually. Check them out here.

A deep dive into Hawaiian culture

Many travellers are not aware that Hawaii was once a kingdom with a rich history of Hawaiian kings and queens, language and customs.

Today, the Hawaiian Islands is a melting pot of many peoples and cultures that immigrated to the islands and made it their home; foreign customs naturally mixed with Hawaii’s native culture to create a unique lifestyle enjoyed by the destination’s current population of kamaaina (locals).

However, people living in Hawaii have great respect for its native customs and traditions, which tourists can experience when they visit.

Here are a few for your clients to consider during their trip.

Hawaiian Airlines shares recipes and cultural activities in new video series

While travellers aren’t able to visit Hawaii right now, Hawaiian Airlines has taken this opportunity to share a little bit of aloha by creating videos featuring life and culture in the islands.

Over the coming weeks, travellers can discover delicious recipes prepared by local chefs, cultural activities and classes led by the airline’s employees, and local music and entertainment from the comfort of their own home.

The ‘Sharing Aloha Series’ is available on Hawaiian Airlines’ website, as well as via Facebook and Instagram.

Check out some of the videos already online here.

Aloha from afar: How to experience Oahu at home

Oahu has welcomed generations of visitors to its shores to experience its unique history, culture, and natural beauty.

Like many destinations, however, Oahu is currently focusing on the health and safety of its community during these unprecedented times.

“Right now, we respectfully ask travellers to postpone any travel to Hawaii until our state and county deems it appropriate,” said Noelani Schilling-Wheeler, executive director of the Oahu Visitors Bureau.

“When we are in recovery and open for business, Oahu will welcome visitors with aloha, and will share the wonderful experiences Oahu has to offer once again.”

In the spirit of aloha, Oahu’s attractions, cultural institutions, chefs, and famed hotels are sending their aloha from afar by leveraging online resources, distance learning programs and virtual experiences to bring a little bit of Hawaii into the home, wherever that may be.

Here is a curated list of online experiences for you and your clients to enjoy until Oahu welcomes visitors back to its shores.


Featured image: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Mark Kushimi

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