Fewer schools hosting annual May Day celebrations

May Day Celebration

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It’s a long-standing tradition in the islands, but annual school May Day celebrations are slowly disappearing.

The fragrance of fresh cut flowers, Hawaiian music fills the air. It’s that time of year… May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.

“For years and years, every school that I went to it was always a tradition,” parent Matt Saffery said.

“To me, this is a cultural experience and being in Hawaii, it’s something that we look forward to,” grandparent Gordon Ho said.

“The prep usually takes a couple of months but we feel the May Day program is very important to have because its mainly for the kids and their families,” Nuuanu Elementary School teacher Jill Maeda said.

Now days, the number of schools hosting May Day programs has dropped.

“It was more the time, the energy and the testing, the academic requirements that we have,” Kawananakoa Middle School principal Sandra Ishihara-Shibata said.

It’s been 20 years since Kawananakoa Middle School had a May Day. School officials say they rather keep the kids focused on their education and other activities that include all of the students.

“What we’ll do is we will have all the students participate and plant 24 Native Hawaiian trees and that is going to be our second phase of beautifying our campus,” Ishihara=Shibata said.

Meanwhile, the added time, prep, and cost of participating in May Day and being named on the court, appears to be falling on the shoulders of parents and PTSA.

“The parents do and we try to use things like aloha attire and shirts and sometimes we use our school shirts as well just to keep the cost down,” Maeda said.

Kawananakoa’s tree planting event is scheduled for next Friday.

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