Graduation is an exciting time for students and their families, so why not make it even more special with the perfect graduation lei?
Leis are a traditional way to celebrate special occasions in Hawaii, but they can also be tailored to any type of event. If you’re looking for an original graduation gift to give your graduate, consider making them a beautiful, meaningful lei.
Let’s explore some unique ideas for creating that perfect graduation lei.
Why Give a Lei at Graduation and What does it Mean?
Giving a lei at graduation is a beloved tradition steeped in culture, as well as lots of love and appreciation. A lei is a traditional Hawaiian necklace made of flowers, shells, or feathers and symbolizes honor, friendship, and love. Graduates often receive leis from family members during their graduation ceremony to show how proud they are of the graduate’s accomplishments.
In addition to being a beautiful decoration for the ceremony, giving a lei means that the wearer will have good luck on their journey into adulthood.
The gift of a lei recognizes all the hard work that has been put in throughout college while wishing the wearer success and joy in their future endeavors. It is a powerful reminder not only to follow your dreams but also to make sure lasting memories are taken away from each accomplishment.
Who Wears a Lei at Graduation?
The lei is traditionally worn by the graduate during their graduation ceremony, but sometimes a family member or friend can wear one as well. It’s not uncommon for multiple people to wear them in the same family, such as siblings or cousins graduating at the same time.
Many prefer the pretty flower leis as a special accessory for their graduation look, while others may prefer to wear a lei consisting of greenery and beads instead of flowers. Whatever type of lei is chosen, it will be a lasting memento that the graduate can proudly display at home and in photos.
Graduation Lei Ideas
While there are many different varieties of leis, here are some fun and creative ideas for graduation leis that you can make or buy for your graduate:
Colorful Flowers & Greenery Graduation Lei
While the caps, gowns and diplomas often take center stage during graduation, flower graduation lei looks spectacular. Whether it’s a lei using a single type of flower or a layered design with multiple types of flowers, these handcrafted accessories really stand out.
They are most commonly seen draped around the graduating student’s neck, but can also be carefully assembled into bouquets and wreaths. Not only do they offer a vibrant splash of color to proceedings, but they provide a lasting keepsake of this memorable occasion.
A classic way to make this lei is by using colorful flowers, greenery, and foliage. You can choose your grad’s favorite colors or the school colors of the school they are graduating from. If you prefer something simpler, opt for white or ivory roses or daisies. This classic look is always elegant and will look great with any kind of attire on graduation day!
Money Graduation Wreath
Another popular graduation lei is the money wreath. Kids and adults alike will love this one!
A graduation money lei is a unique and special way to honor and commemorate the accomplishments of a loved one. These hand-made leis symbolize good luck and financial success in the future.
The practice of providing money leis as gifts began over one hundred years ago when parents would give them to their children before they set out on their journey in life or embarked on their voyage to a new place. Nowadays, people from all over the world celebrate this tradition by gifting graduation money leis at graduation and other milestone events.
Money leis are made from folded bills that are attached together into a necklace with ribbon or string, sometimes embellished with flowers, beads, or other decorations. It is customary for the person giving the lei to provide an inspirational message as well as wishes of success as part of their gift.
There are many ways to make a money lei but for most you’ll need some dollar bills, scissors, rubber bands, tape and beads. Start by folding your dollar bills accordion style and wrapping a band around the middle. Then tape each end together to make a circle shape. Repeat this step until you have enough dollar bill circles.
Next take your ribbon and measure the correct length. Begin stringing the money and bead onto the ribbon to create your wreath. You can alternate the beads and money circles or choose whichever pattern you prefer. Lastly you can add a few charms or extra ribbon to give it that extra special touch.
Symbolic Charms & Decorations
Adding charms or decorations to a lei adds an extra layer of personalization. Consider adding charms that symbolize your graduate’s hard work and dedication such as diplomas, books, keys, stars, hearts or even tiny tassels. You could also add charms that represent the graduate’s future aspirations like globes, airplanes or ships. The possibilities are endless!
If you want something different than flowers, try adding candies and treats to your graduation lei! A candy graduation lei is the perfect way to turn a special occasion into something extra-special!
Your graduate will love getting a colorful array of delicious treats all strung together in a classic Hawaiian-style lei. This classic keepsake is sure to show the grad just how much you care while also adding a little bit of fun factor.
Choose any combination of chocolates, gummies or lollipops in the school colors for a tasty treat that will surely make your graduate smile from ear-to-ear! Plus it doubles as both a sweet treat and keepsake gift all in one!
Whether you choose flowers or candies (or both!), there are countless ways to create the perfect graduation lei for your grad. Making one yourself is sure to be appreciated as it shows how much thought and care went into it – plus it’s so much fun too!
With these ideas in mind, get creative with designing yours today! Your graduate will love wearing it on their big day. Good luck!