Hawaii's Finest Flower Lei Stand for Four Generations

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Great Big Story - Hawaiian Lei Feature

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The segment showcases the ongoing passion for lei-making as an art and lei-gifting as an expression of Aloha. One important takeaway Cindy's Lei Shoppe manager Karen Lee says in the segment is, "You know that if you got a lei or gifted a lei you had a connection with Hawaii". It is becoming more and more common for lei to be a cultural staple present at events not just based in Hawaii, but on the mainland, sometimes in the remotest of places. Hawaii ties tend to be very strong among family and friends which drive this special type of gifting in lieu of a standard floral arrangement. Our employees have heard from our customers of their firsthand observations of attending commencement ceremonies from large universities seeing a plethora of lei being worn by graduates. However, it is not uncommon at even the smaller college graduations to see 1-2 of the graduates wear freshly strung lei made in Hawaii. Moreover, there are many Hawaii transplants that relocate to mainland (not only the West Coast!), sometimes in the more rural, far-reaching areas of the country. They too wish to hold fast to their roots through Hawaii local culture and don lei in weddings, funerals / celebration of life / wakes, corporate events and luau.

As Bill Char and Meleana Estes showcase in a more artisanal fashion, there are lei stringers that have their own style, catering to a clientele that seeks a different symbolism of expression. While we at Cindy's consider ourselves versatile, striking a middle ground between past and present, we remind ourselves to take pause to appreciate the craft independent lei-makers which have a more modern emphasis. One need look no further than the many designs featured on Instagram (see: haku_lei_haleiwa, leisbyleilani, thehappyhaku, naneakekuilei). Haku lei po'o, in vogue over the last few years, can range from a modern one-size-fits-all spring-themed look to Tahitian-style with large leaves and often darker tropical accents.

The Great Big Story series has also done many other segments on Hawaiiana: tapa-making and use, paniolo culture, kiho'alu / slack key guitar (to name a few)

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