The ancient art of making leis, or flower garlands, is one of the most beautiful of its kind and is still practiced on the Hawaiian Islands today. The unique custom of placing a flower garland around the neck as a warm greeting in the true spirit of “Aloha” is world famous. Hear the name “Hawaii” and the image that springs to mind is of a smiling Hawaiian beauty with flowers in her hair greeting you with a kiss and a lei as you step off the plane. Although Hawaii and the Hawaiian culture are rightly accredited with making the lei famous, the people of other Pacific islands such as Polynesia and Micronesia, as well as people in southeast Asia also use floral garlands in a similar way. There are several different types of lei, including elaborate feather leis and others made from sea shells, seeds and nuts. Some are made to adorn wrists and ankles or worn as headbands. But the lei as a garland of flowers for the neck is the most familiar and comes in a variety of styles and colours: made up of as many as 50 fresh flowers and perhaps decorated with ribbons. The type of flower determines how the garland is made, however the traditional Hawaiian flower garland is prepared with sweet-smelling maile leaves woven with pikake (jasmine) flowers. Being decorated with a fragrant lei and receiving a warm Hawaiian welcome will long remain a happy memory.