When we first started coming to Hawaii in 2002, I fell in love with plumeria blooms and their scent. Did you know, the actual tree is rather odd-looking, usually knobby and with long large leaves. Plumeria come in many colors and yes, they can be strung together to make amazingly scented plumeria lei. Unfortunately for me, I have hay fever, and plumeria do set me off. However, thanks to Covid, my filter mask and nasal spray kept my nose ok.
One of our sons is graduating highschool this year – Class of 2021! – and so for the past 6 weeks I’ve been attending hula lessons in preparation for the traditional moms hula dance. Have you ever danced a hula? In 11 years of living here, I have not. In addition to learning the hula, someone had a brilliant suggestion – we should all make flower lei to present to our children after the dance. Oh sure…. I will admit to a little panic.
Fortunately one of my friends (fellow mom of senior) knows how to make lei. We have several white plumeria trees in our yard, and my friend had the needles and the know-how. What could go wrong? We got together for a practice session this past weekend, and then this morning was lei-making time. I went out at 6:30AM to pick the blooms, as my google search had instructed me to do. When you pick the blooms, the sticky white sap drips both from the tree and blooms – be careful as it is hard to get off. Plumeria don’t seem that fragile, but the more you touch them, the quicker they will bruise and wilt.
My friend arrived shortly after and we set to work. We measured a 4 1/2 feet of thread (we used double thread) and threaded our needles. She had a 4 inch crafting needle, I just used a regular needle. Then we pulled the needle through the center of the flower down through the stem and strung our lei. My next door neighbor has beautiful multi-hued (pink and yellow) plumeria, so we made a bit of a pattern – five white, one colored. Once completed, we tied the strand together. Because of my big hair, I kept my lei long, my friend shortened hers a bit. See my candy lei post for lei giving/receiving etiquette. You want the lei to hang down your front but also your back (not around the neck per se).
We are so pleased with how our plumeria lei turned out. We put them in ‘contraband’ plastic bags and flicked a little water over them before loosely tying the bags and placing them in the fridge. Don’t squeeze the air out of the bag.
Contraband plastic bags?
In 2011 Maui banned single use plastic shopping bags. You can still get small style bags in the produce and meat department, but at the til everything is paper or recyclable bags.
Yes – we danced our hula at the graduation luau today. Usually this would be an evening event and we’d have danced outdoors on the lawn, however, due to Covid the hula and slideshow were done indoors (where they could control the lighting).
Here is Sig’s hula video. I am wearing a blue/white flowy shirt from Blue Ginger (Shops at Wailea – love this store) and black capris. And yes, I’m wearing my plumeria lei. We all wore our masks (this definitely helped with the hay fever from the plumeria scent). At the end of the dance, we presented our lei to our kids. It was lovely.