Tag Archives: high school graduation

Pomp and Circumstance – Graduation, Hawaii Style



High school and college graduation ceremonies are coming up. Educational institutions throughout the islands are gearing up for another festive season to celebrate academia, endurance and achievements.

Part of the fun is seeing the types of leis (garlands) showered upon the graduates at the close of a graduation ceremony.

Besides the traditional beautiful flower leis, other styles and materials depend partly on the culture and personality of the creators!


But, first, a Tongan or Samoan mom may stake out a welcome mat for the special grad:


Or if mom is about impending hunger, she will also provide bento lunches for families and relatives who attend the ceremony. This is not counting the big luaus in the next few days or so.



Balloon leis appear to be in vogue!



This “soda lei” around the neck probably weighs as much as an albatross.


We should be impressed by this “quick lunch lei” — saimin noodles, popcorn and lunchmeat! (I was told I missed the bread loaves and the toilet paper roll leis!)

Then there’s the coveted Wall Street headgear for her:

And for him:


Candy, chips and other tropical foliage leis are now an integral part of Hawaii graduations.


Whew! Professors and teachers are off the radar screen. Gone are the midnight raids on the vending machines, last-minute cramming, churning out research papers and projects, asking miracles to inspire an empty mind during exams, juggling social and academic responsibilities, handling love dramas, coming up with solutions to save the world in an hour, and a million other things. The rigors and academia chapter will close. Another exciting chapter will begin.


Whatever type of lei is bestowed upon the graduate, the celebration is: You did it!