With graduation season upon us, I decided to make candy lei. As you know, lei-giving is a huge tradition here in Hawaii. For kids it seems the most popular lei are definitely candy and money lei.
Did you know – the plural of lei is lei. You don’t add an ‘S’ at the end of the word.
Candy lei – rather than flowers, you include candy. Money lei – it involves intricate folding of dollar bills and tucking/tying them into the lei.
I did some online research for my lei. There are many ways to do this, here is how I made mine.
My candy lei step by step
- Cut 4 1/2 feet of 2 inch poly tubing. Remember, as you fill/tie your lei, it shortens. It needs to be long enough to comfortably slide over the recipient’s head. The poly tubing was an order error – I thought I had purchased net tubing, apparently not). The poly tubing worked just fine.
- Cut ribbon in 5-6 inch pieces
- Organize your candy bags in front of you. Pro tip – in Hawaii chocolate melts very easily, even when in the shade. I purchased Skittles, Dumdums, Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts and as a nod to those who prefer ‘healthier’ options, Welch’s fruit gummies (you know, the Costco box).
- Slide the first candy into the tubing and tie it into place on both sides with double knotted ribbon. Then add the next candy and repeat. I ended up using approximately 13-14 candies per lei. I did not end up being able to use the Welch’s as the little packets had too much air in them. I did briefly consider poking a hole in the packets so they’d compress and fit, but…. I remember telling kids to carefully inspect their Halloween candy, so I didn’t tamper with them.
- Tying the two ends together to finish off the lei was a little trickier – the ribbon slid right off. I ended up holepunching both ends of poly tube twice and stringing ribbon through.
- I attached a little 2021 graduate tag and and curled all the ribbons
What do you think? I made 38 of these lei. Can’t wait to hand them to the graduates this weekend!
Lei giving and receiving etiquette
- When giving a lei, it is customary to kiss the recipient on both cheeks. Alternatively you can bow while presenting the lei to the recipient for them to place it themselves (this seems more appropriate during Covid times)
- Always accept a lei with a smile when it is given
- Wear the lei on your shoulders, with half of it hanging down your front, the other half down your back
- It is considered bad luck to re-gift a lei that you have received
- Should you be unable to wear it (too fragrant, interferes with what you are doing etc), place the lei in a place of honor.
- To keep a floral lei fresh, place it in a plastic bag with a sprinkling of water and some air, and place it in the fridge
- Some will return a lei to where it came from, such as hanging a plumeria lei on a plumeria tree. Do keep in mind that the string/fish line will cause problems for animals