Graduation Lei Tradition

Graduation Lei Article by Peggy Stankovich - Wave Shoppe Apparel and Merchandising - Yuma, Arizona

Women wearing Hawaiian leis at graduationBeautiful Hawaiian Leis have long been a part of the culture and tradition of the Polynesian People. Exotic, colorful Leis were made from island flowers, leaves and other natural items such as shells, feathers, twigs intertwined.

Surviving the passage of time Leis are still an important part of Polynesian Culture, and many other cultures in society have embraced the spirit of Aloha by continuing the tradition of wearing and giving Leis. In the US and many other countries, you can see bright, pretty, Hawaiian Leis at luaus, parties, weddings, and the ever popular backyard BBQs.

A growing trend in the United States is the giving of Leis to High School and College Graduates to wear with their cap and gowns to graduation ceremonies. Does the average High School or College parent know about this new tradition? Am I the only parent in the dark?

My one and only daughter graduated from high school this year and upon arriving to her graduation was so surprised to see a colorful myriad of Hawaiian Leis gracefully draping over the shoulders of the graduates.

The graduation cap and gowns were black so the leis stood out and added such visual beauty to the outfit. I found my daughter and breathed a sigh of relief to see her wearing 2 leis that I later learned were given to her by a family friend. Yep here I am co-owner of a company that sells absolutely beautiful Hawaiian Leis and I didn’t know anything about the graduation lei tradition. I was so grateful to my friend for giving my daughter the leis.

My daughter came up to me afterwards and asked why I didn’t bring her some leis she was expecting lots of them from me and had even told her friends that her Mom would be bringing lots of leis and that she would share them with the few students whose parents didn’t realize that getting leis at graduation was a symbol of “future luck”.

I decided there and then to reach out to other parents, aunts, uncles, and family friends to be aware of this tradition and prepared for it. SO whether you know someone who is graduating or attending a luau, party or backyard BBQ be sure to buy a lei for them and give them a little piece of aloha and good luck at the same time. Buy from Wave Shoppe unless you want to make your own leis from flowers-feathers etc.