Lei Day 50 years ago, 1968.

It all started in 1928

Wear your aloha shirts, muumuus, leis tomorrow

As has been the custom since Grace Tower Warren and Don Blanding began the observance of Lei Day in 1928, aloha shirts, muumuus and leis will be the garb of the day tomorrow.

Throughout the Islands each year on May Day, schools and other institutions present their May programs and lei contests.

The Oahu Lei Contest, sponsored by the Department of Parks and Recreation, will be judged tomorrow and the leis will be on display at the Waikiki Shell from 1 to 9 p.m.

Prizes totaling $650 will be awarded to  lei makers in different categories.

Darlene Bakke, this year’s lei queen, will reign over the festivities including music, hula dancing and pageantry, to be held at the Shell.

A demonstration of kahili making—kahilis were the standard of royalty in Old Hawaii—will be given from 9 to 11 a.m. on the Shell lawn. Continue reading


May Day, Honokaa style, 1942.

[Found under: “Meahou O Na Kohala Ame Hamakua”]

At the Park of Honokaa High School in the morning of thr coming Friday, that being the 1st of May, called May Day and Lei Day, will be held a celebration of LEI DAY.

That man famous for his musical compositions who came to Hilo some years ago, named Don Blanding, is the one who pushed the idea of saying Lei Day along with May Day. His idea for this day was for everyone across the islands to wear a lei, for the reason that lei in Hawaii, lei symbolize—”ALOHA.” Continue reading

More on Don Blanding, 1939.

About Don Blanding

Don Blanding

Moses Company, Limited announced the arrival of plates decorated by this famous poet, Don Blanding, a they are being displayed in their store and are placed in one of their show windows. You can see the true value of his recollections. His abilities in painting is incomparable.

You can begin your collection of plates for $8.80. They are beautiful to look at, and can be used everyday.

Should you desire to see some of those plates, go to the book store of the Moses Company. Continue reading

Don Blanding poem in English, 1939.

Don Blanding Dedicates Poem To Old Hawaiians

Don Blanding, Hawaii’s own poet, now visiting in Hilo, has finished a poem and dedicated it to “those grand old Hawaiians you see sitting on the doorsteps of the little houses along the road in Kona watching life go by, smiling.”

Here’s the new poem:


“Tutu” is the affectionate Hawaiian name for grandparents or very old people.)

I would grow old as you are old, Tutu,
Seasoned with loving, mellow with gracious giving,
I would have hair like your grayed hair, Tutu,
Each silver thread a service stripe of living.

I would have eyes like your kind eyes, Tutu,
The veil of tears pierced by gay laughter’s twinkle,
I would have lips that smile like yours, Tutu,
A line from Life’s rich story in each wrinkle.

I would look back as you look back, Tutu,
Remembering all the good, the rest forgetting,
I would face death as you face death, Tutu,
Grateful of heart, undaunted, unregretting.

—Don Blanding

July 9, 1939

(Hoku o Hawaii, 7/12/1939, p. 6)

Don Blanding Dedicates Poem To Old Hawaiians

Ka Hoku o Hawaii, Volume XXXIV, Number 11, Aoao 6. July 12, 1939.

More on the originator of Lei Day, Don Blanding, 1939.

Don Blanding Dedicates this poem to the oldsters of Hawaii

This was translated into Hawaiian for the writer by Mrs. Mary Kawena Pukui of the Bishop Museum. These mele in English and Hawaiian will come out in the new book by Don Blanding, Drifter’s Gold, which will be published in the last week of September.



E iini no au e kahiko aku e like me kou kahiko ana, e Tutu,
I ike i ka hua o ke aloha, i haawi oluolu aku,
E iini no au e like ko’u oho me kou oho poohina, e Tutu,
O na oho kuakea pakahi, he makana no keia ola ana.

E iini no au e like o’u mau maka me kou mau maka oluolu, e Tutu
I piha i ka waimaka a puka mai hoi ka aka ana,
E iini no au e loaa ia’u ka minoaka ana e like me kou, e Tutu,
O na alu pakahi o kou papalina, he waiwai i kaha ia e keia ola ana.

E iini no au e nana i hope e like me kou nana ana, e Tutu,
E hoomanao ana i na mea maikai, e hoopoina aku i ka nui,
E iini no au e nana aku i ka maka o ka make ana e like me oe, e Tutu,
Me ka naau hoomaikai, wiwoole a kaumaha ole.

(Hoku o Hawaii, 7/12/1939, p. 1)

Hoolaa o Don Blanding keia mele no na Hawaii kahiko

Ka Hoku o Hawaii, Volume XXXIV, Nuimber 11, Aoao 1. Iulai 12, 1939.