Lei Sellers and Stands
The making of lei did not become a commercial venture until sometime after 1870
when visitors began to visit the Islands in greater numbers. The local custom of giving a lei gained a new popularity and a new market was born for those making lei to sell. The first lei vendors catered to steamship travelers. The passenger shipping industry began the tradition of throwing lei overboard on departure to ensure a return to the Islands. Lei sellers lined up along the harbor or sold their goods from carts or cars stationed near the hotels. Permanent lei stands also cropped up along Honolulu's Chinatown streets. Once airline travel became viable, many lei vendors relocated to the airports where planes unloaded passengers on several flights each hour, a big increase over the twice-weekly steamship arrivals.
In addition to regular lei stands, lei are often found for sale at special events such as concerts, Hawaiian cultural programs, or school carnivals.
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