It’s only responsible for visitors to ask, “When is it appropriate for men to wear a lei in Hawaiʻi?” before stepping out onto the islands. Everyone is permitted to wear lei, no matter their gender, but you should know a few things before donning lei on the island.
A Variety of Occasions Involve Lei
The simple answer to what occasions are appropriate for men to wear lei at is… most of them! Lei are a part of many ceremonies, from birthdays to graduations to funerals. If you spend time with loved ones on the island, you may receive a lei at just about any event.
Since other people give lei, you don’t need to worry much about the appropriate time to put one on yourself. Your friends and family members decide that for you! In fact, one of the only times it’s considered bad luck to wear a lei is when you intend to give the same lei to someone else later.
There Are (Some) Rules for Wearing Lei
Locals are unlikely to comment on lei etiquette mistakes, so knowing these bits of information before you go will certainly help:
- It’s almost always unacceptable to refuse a lei. Remember, they’re most often a show of love and appreciation.
- Lei are worn around the shoulders, not necessarily the neck. Let your lei rest over your upper back as well as your chest.
- Avoid throwing away a lei when possible.
- When giving a lei, gently place it over the recipient’s shoulders. You may also offer it with a bowed head so that they may place it themselves. Only ever give a pregnant woman an untied, open-ended lei.
Lei on the Way Home
Once your visit to Hawaii is over, you may not want to get rid of the lei you received. After all, lei are worth cherishing. If you’re going to take your lei with you on the plane ride back to the mainland, first know that some states ban specific kinds of lei. For example, California prohibits lei made using citrus plants. You also don’t want to wear your lei on the plane, as moving through the aisle might damage the flowers. Instead, consider placing your fresh lei in a plastic bag with a spritz of water to keep it safe.
Flowers such as plumeria wilt quickly, so if you have the time to preserve your lei before traveling, do so. Fresh flower lei are often dried and sealed before being set out on display in the home. You can also take steps to preserve your maile lei using similar methods.
Understanding when it’s appropriate for men to wear lei in Hawaii will hopefully gives you a sense of ease before your vacation to the archipelago. It’s important to remain conscious of the Hawaiian culture, but remember to enjoy new experiences and learn more about the island’s traditions, art forms, and lifestyles.