While nobody ever envisions rainy days in Hawaii, at least extended, all day serious raining, they do occasionally occur. But fear not, there is plenty to do and keep in the spirit of the Hawaiian traditions, immersing yourself in their history. In visiting both Lanai and Maui, what I found most endearing was their passion! They explained how their grandmother taught them to make a bracelet or shared their happy memories of fishing with their grandfather, and why it is so important to them to keep their native traditions alive.
Shane and Ray worked at the craft center at the Four Seasons Lanai. We were taking a walking tour and happened upon them as the rain was teeming down. Ray was weaving a beautiful fishing net if you can believe that. He explained the intricate way to create it as well as how to repair it when fish broke it. Meanwhile, Shane had started a bracelet, weaving from the local Lauhala or Pandanus tree. It was considered one of the most versatile trees in ancient Hawaii. It was used for medicine, food, and for crafting, sleeping mats, baskets, and the sails of outrigger canoes. This beautiful bracelet he was working on appealed to our fashion loving crowd! Before we knew it, they were inviting us to join them and offered to teach us how to make one.
What a relaxing way to spend a rainy day! And you had to concentrate because it was a remarkably interesting and purposeful weaving pattern.
That afternoon we also made beautiful lei necklaces. The Okika (Orchid), a gorgeous purple and white flower is fragrant and hearty enough to last a few days, especially if refrigerated. A lei is a common symbol of love, friendship, celebration, honor or greeting. In essence, it is a symbol of Aloha. In ancient Hawaii, wearing a lei represented wealth, royalty and rank.
Days later, weirdly enough I was in the bathroom washing my hands, and one of the local Hawaiian employees politely interrupted me. She had noticed my beautiful bracelet and warned me not to get it wet or it would ruin the weave. She advised me to shellac it once I got home to protect it. She was so happy to learn I had made it myself, just another sweet example of the warm and inviting Hawaiians!