Hirokolele, the impressive floral art that decorates the heads of Hawaiian women (and that should never be thrown away) | Fashion | The USA Print

Hirokolele, the impressive floral art that decorates the heads of Hawaiian women (and that should never be thrown away) |  Fashion

When someone thinks of Hawaii, it is normal to remember the dancers of hulasurfing and its incredible landscapes of green mountain ranges, but perhaps one of the most characteristic elements of these distant islands are the floral decorations that Hawaiians usually give as gifts on special occasions.

This type of garlands made with flowers and plants, and which can be placed in the form of a necklace or crown, are generically called read, and they can be found in many types and forms. They are made with a wide variety of fresh flowers, leaves, stems, shells and other elements from the nature of those islands. Even with other objects such as candies, jewelry and even banknotes.

The read They have been part of Hawaiian culture since the Polynesian people who populated those islands arrived there around the 11th century AD. Those pioneers brought their traditions, which included creating floral arrangements to honor their gods and rulers. With the arrival of tourism in the 20th century, read They became part of the Western fantasy of a trip to the Hawaiian paradise and no visit to that region would be complete if, upon getting off the boat or plane, the tourist did not receive a garland made of fresh flowers from the hands of a local.

Nowadays, the read They continue to be a symbol of love, friendship, respect and hospitality. Giving one of them is a sign of affection and consideration to the person who receives it and they are common at weddings, graduations, birthdays, etc.

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Hirokolele, the impressive floral art that decorates the heads of Hawaiian women (and that should never be thrown away) | Fashion | The USA Print

An Instagram account dedicated to flower arrangements

But maybe we wouldn’t be talking about all this if it weren’t for @hirokolele, an Instagram account in which its administrator, Hiroko, posts impressive examples of this type of floral art almost every week, in her case headdresses that she makes herself. To know a little more about the subject, we decided to contact her, despite the almost 13,000 kilometers that separate us, to find out a little more about who is behind this project and also a little more about this beautiful tradition.

“I’m Japanese and I came to Hawaii about twenty years ago,” Hiroko explains to us from the island of Kauai, where she works as a landscaper. “My goal in creating this account was to show the natural beauty of the plants on the island where I live, but also to show something different from what other people already post.” Hiroko explains to us that most of the plants come from the nursery where he works. “The truth is that I not only use native plants, but I use all types of tropical plants, even if they are not native to the island.”

The flowers with which the read They can belong to a wide variety of plants, among which we can find plumerias, perhaps the most emblematic flower of these islands, orchids, tuberoses and hibiscus, as well as green leaves. But also kukui nuts, shells and other natural elements. The choice of materials often depends on the occasion and the meaning you want to convey with the floral arrangement.

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In Hiroko’s account, it is striking that the same model always appears, a Hawaiian lady of a certain age. “This is Nani, a woman born on the island and who is the oldest employee of the company where she works,” explains the landscaper. “When I met her, it caught my attention that she used to choose a flower to put in her hair, sometimes even huge flowers that she put behind her ear. It is a tradition that is deeply rooted here and has its codes. For example, if a woman puts the flower in her left ear, she means that she is married.”

Hirokolele, the impressive floral art that decorates the heads of Hawaiian women (and that should never be thrown away) | Fashion | The USA Print

Hiroko also explains to us that these types of decorations or flowers are usually used for several days. “Nani puts a flower on one day and at night she places it in a glass of water. This way he can use it for several days.”

As can be seen in Hiroko’s account, the read, and especially the head ones, can have different styles and use a multitude of different patterns, from the simplest to the most elaborate. According to Hiroko, “Hawaiian floral art has remained almost unchanged for centuries, although each artisan can give her creations her own personal touch,” he says. “It is true that, in recent years, some techniques such as the use of microwave ovens or freezing have been incorporated to soften some types of leaves and make their handling easier. However, the way to braid them is the same as always. “Some new plants that were not available before have also been added, which have been introduced into the flora of the island.”

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The culture of read It has, in Hiroko’s opinion, made Hawaiians more knowledgeable about the plants around them. This activity is fundamentally transmitted from generation to generation and, although it is perhaps not as common today as before to see women on the street wearing read In their daily lives, it is still common, for example, for brides to wear them on their wedding day.

how to get rid of a read

The read They are such a sign of respect in Hawaiian culture that they can’t even be thrown away like any other object. Tradition dictates that they must be returned to the place from which they were collected or, if that is not possible, they must be returned to the earth in various ways. They can be hung on a tree, buried or burned.

A read It represents love and respect for a person, and discarding it is equivalent to discarding the love and respect of the person who gave it. Some types of lei are often left on a window to dry, allowing their natural fragrance to fill the room. They are also usually placed inside vehicles with the same effect.

In Hawaiian tradition, the act of returning a read to its place of origin or in a manner respectful of the land is a gesture deeply rooted in culture: it reflects a connection with nature and an appreciation for the natural resources that have been used to create them.

Hirokolele, the impressive floral art that decorates the heads of Hawaiian women (and that should never be thrown away) | Fashion | The USA Print



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