When a person gives someone a lei, it symbolizes their affection towards the other. Leis are commonly presented when someone is arriving and leaving, so it’s no surprise that leis are given to graduates as they are leaving school and arriving to this new stage of life. Traditionally, the receiver is supposed to bow their head down so the gift-giver can place the lei around their neck. They end this custom with a kiss.
The most common types of leis are made from flowers or some type of botanical element, whether it be green leaves or vines. Dendrobium orchid leis are the most popular type of graduation ceremony gift because of their long-lasting quality. Purple is the most common color chosen for orchid leis, followed by white and green. Other graduation lei flower types are rose leis and carnation leis. Yellow roses are a popular choice for girl graduates because of their lovely fragrance and femininity. Carnations are also a great choice, for there are so many color options and therefore they are easier to match to the school’s colors—which is an important feature to consider when purchasing flowers for a grad.
However, there are many types of leis. Other popular types include money leis, candy leis, shell leis and origami leis. These leis are much less expensive than their floral alternatives and are easy to make yourself. Money leis usually consist of 100 $1 bills. Candy leis are usually made of hard candies or any type of candy that will not melt during the ceremony. Origami leis are nice because you can use colored paper that follows the school colors, you can shape them into flowers, and they will last forever.