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Lani Kalanii

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The lei not only represents a welcoming greeting, but is also a common symbol of love, friendship, honor, congratulations, celebration, and more. Many brides and grooms who plan to hold their wedding in Hawaii choose to incorporate the lovely lei as part of their celebration. You may have noticed or thought about Hawaiian leis coming in a wide variety of flowers, vines, and colors.

The lei not only represents a welcoming greeting, but is also a common symbol of love, friendship, honor, congratulations, celebration, and more. Many brides and grooms who plan to hold their wedding in Hawaii choose to incorporate the lovely lei as part of their celebration.

You may have noticed or thought about Hawaiian leis coming in a wide variety of flowers, vines, and colors. Perhaps you have wondered whether there is a meaning behind all the different colors of leis. Do different-colored leis mean different things?

It turns out, the color or colors of a Hawaiian lei often do mean something. Here is a breakdown of the more common Hawaiian leis and their colors, and what these colors mean or represent. If you're planning a wedding in Hawaii, and wish to include leis as a part of your celebration, you may want to take these meanings into consideration.

Carnation Leis

Carnation-based leis are very popular in Hawaii. These leis have very full blossoms and are known for their strong but sweet fragrance. Leis made from carnations come in different colors, with each color serving as a symbol of something:

-White carnation leis: luck

-Pink carnation leis: friendship

-Light red carnation leis: admiration

-Darker red carnation leis: love

Because of carnations' full-blossomed beauty and sweet fragrance, many brides in Hawaii may opt to select a carnation lei, such as white for luck or dark red for love, to wear themselves.

Green Maile Vine Leis

The very fragrant green Maile vine lei is a traditional and common lei both worn and given in Hawaii. This lei is traditionally considered as a symbol of peace, and is often worn by grooms at their weddings-something to consider if you're planning a wedding yourself.

Green-Leafed Ti Leis

Another green-leafed lei in Hawaii is one made from the Hawaiian ti plant. Like the white carnation leis, the ti plant leis are given to bring good luck to the one who wears them. Traditionally, they were made to fend off evil spirits. This type of lei, in symbolizing luck, could be an appropriate wedding choice.

Ohia Blossom Leis

Ohia blossom leis are also worn and given throughout Hawaii, particularly in Hawaii's Big Island, where this red-blossomed flower is the official flower. The red Ohia blossom lei also represents Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, also known as the Goddess of Volcanoes.

Ilima Flower Leis

Leis made from the ilima flower are preferred by some in Hawaii. These flowers come in wide range of red hues as well as in orange and yellow, and symbolize both the Oahu Island and love, for all the ilima colors. If you are getting married in Oahu and enjoy the hues of red, orange, and yellow, the ilima flower lei, symbolizing love, would make an excellent choice for your wedding.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of leis available in Hawaii, each with its own unique look, color, fragrance, and meaning. If you arrive in Hawaii and are presented with a lei, you might be able to identify the flower, vine, or plant as well as the meaning! Further, if you're planning a Hawaiian wedding and plan to include leis as a part of it (whether just for the bride and groom, the whole wedding party, the party plus family, or even all the guests), you now have some ideas of which leis might be most appropriate.

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MLA Style Citation:
Kalanii, Lani "Do Different-Colored Leis Mean Different Things?." Do Different-Colored Leis Mean Different Things?. 19 Nov. 2013 24 Mar. 2018 <>.
APA Style Citation:
Kalanii, Lani (2013, November 19). Do Different-Colored Leis Mean Different Things?. Retrieved March 24, 2018, from
Chicago Style Citation:
Kalanii, Lani "Do Different-Colored Leis Mean Different Things?." Do Different-Colored Leis Mean Different Things?
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