Do you know what it means to wear a flower behind your left ear? What about behind your right ear? In Hawaii, wearing flowers is a very old and important tradition. It is a form of art that has many meanings. Let’s take a look at some of the different ways Hawaiian floral art is significant.
The tropical climate of Hawaii is perfect for growing plants. When the first Hawaiians arrived in present-day Hawaii from Polynesia, they brought plants from their homeland that they would need . These plants grew well in Hawaii. The Hawaiians plant flowers like orchids, tuberoses, and carnations to use in flower art.
The Hawaiians also brought lei making from Polynesia. A lei is a necklace made of flowers. Leis are given in celebrations or at parties. If someone gets more than one lei, they wear them all. They can end up being stacked so high, it can get hard to see over them! This isn’t the only way to wear flowers, though.
A kupe’e is like a lei you wear on your wrist. They usually are just made from green plants, but some are made with white flowers. Just like the lei, the kupe’e was a tradition that was brought with the first Hawaiians. Kupe’e are worn by dancers, but they are just as fashionable for anyone else.
Another way to wear flowers is to place one in your hair. The side of your head you wear it on has a meaning in Hawaii. Wearing a flower behind your left ear means that you are in a relationship. Wearing one behind your right ear means that you are single.
The flowers of Hawaii are well-known throughout the United States and around the world While many of the plants on the islands are not native, their beauty is undeniable. The famous artist Georgia O’Keeffe painted flowers she found in Hawaii. O’Keeffe was impressed by the beauty of Hawaii. She travelled across the island of Maui in a special car that served as a mobile painting studio. Her paintings helped to show the natural beauty of Hawaiian flowers to the world.
What Do You Think? What kind of art do you like to make? What is its significance?
Photo Credit: [Top]Trinette Reed/Blend Images LLC; [Bottom]Buzz Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo