Click to enlargeNa Lei Makamae

Written by Marie A. McDonald and Paul R. Weissich

Lei are the very expression of traditional Hawaiian culture and were once an essential part of community and family life. They were fashioned as solemn offerings to powerful gods, as gifts to honor an important person or loved one, as tokens to mark a momentous occasion or event, and as adornments for dancers, who adhered to strict rules when selecting flowers and plants for hula. Following in the footsteps of Samuel Kamakau, Abraham Fornander, and others, the authors have collected here a wealth of written and oral information to reveal the significance of making and wearing lei and their role in Hawaiian ritual and dance.

This volume covers eighty-eight flowers and plants (and another dozen color variations) used in traditional lei construction. They are arranged according to their Hawaiian names and accompanied by botanical information and descriptions gleaned from legends and chants that illustrate the cultural uses and special meanings of lei prior to Western contact. Many are introduced by poems written especially for this work by master kumu hula, linguist, and ethnologist Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele.

Hardcover: 200 pages.

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