1. n. Lord, master, overseer, employer, owner, possessor, proprietor. A chief was often addressed as ē kuʻu haku, my master. See Haku-o-Hawaiʻi. Kona haku, his lord. ʻO Iēhowa ka Haku (Isa. 50.5), the Lord Jehovah. hoʻo.haku To act as haku, dominate; to treat as a haku; to rule others, sometimes without authority; bossy. ʻA ʻole ʻoe e hoʻohaku maluna ona me ka ʻoʻolea (Oihk. 25.43), you shall not rule over him with rigor. (PCP fatu.)

2. vt. To compose, invent, put in order, arrange; to braid, as a lei, or plait, as feathers. Cf. haku mele. Ka mahiole ʻie i haku ʻia i ka hulu o nā ʻiʻiwi (Laie 479), plaited helmet made with ʻiʻiwi feathers. (PPN fatu.)

3. n. Core, lump, as of poi; stone, coconut sponge. Cf. pōhaku, haku maka, haku ʻōnohi. Haku ipu, pulp and seeds of melon. Haku kā koʻi (Malo 51), stone for chipping. (PPN fatu.)

I figure that since May Day (May 1) is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi, I will focus on a style of lei making.

There are different styles of lei making: kui (sewn, like a plumeria or pīkake lei); hilo (twisted or braided, like ti leaf lei); wili (greenery is secured onto a backing using a wrapping method);  hili (braiding with one type of greenery, like palapalai fern); and haku (braiding with more than one greenery). And that is what I learned growing up. Everyone tends to just put all lei that are NOT sewn into the haku category.

Just keep in mind the STYLE in which the lei is made. Is it twisted, like the ti leaf lei below? That is hilo. Are there a variety of materials used in one lei? Then it is probably wili (materials fastened to a backing by wrapping it, usually) or perhaps it is a haku (if the materials are braided into the lei).


Consider wearing a lei on Monday, May Day. No matter the style, no matter what you call it, get in the spirit of wearing a lei, giving a lei and celebrating the beauty of it all. I would love it if we could bring back the old time memories of Lei Day when, no matter what day of the week it fell on, you could be assured that people would be dressed in aloha attire and donning a lei all day long. And why not? A reason to celebrate our beautiful flora.

E lei kau, e lei hoʻoilo i ke aloha – Love is worn like a lei through the summers and the winters (it is everlasting).

E lei nō au i ko aloha – I will wear your love as a lei (I will cherish your love as a beautiful adornment).

Copyright: 2017 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of “He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited without written consent. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Address inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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