AAPI Heritage Month & Lei Day  

AAPI Heritage Month & Lei Day

May 1 means different things in different parts of the world, but here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it means Lei Day, a statewide celebration of Hawaiian culture and the spirit of "aloha," that intangible sense of warmth, belonging, and connection that emanates from this isolated chain of volcanic islands. Lei Day was first celebrated in 1927 and made an official holiday in 1929. It also happens to fall on the first day of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which honors Americans of Asian, Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian heritage. May is the month the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the US in 1843, and the month the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869 by, mostly, Chinese immigrants.

© Alvis Upitis/Getty Images

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