Tahiti is a tropical island filled with all kinds of fragrant flowers. One of the most notable is the Tiare (or Tahitian Gardenia). The Gardenia is present around the world with 5 to 9 petals, but the majority of the Tahiti variety have exactly 7 petals. It was first recorded around 1770 during Captain Cooks voyage.
The Tiare flower is now the National Flower of both Tahiti and the Cook Islands and you can see it prominently displayed on the tail of Tahiti Nui airlines planes.
Just like Hawaii and other areas of Polynesia, Tahiti has a tradition of wearing flower necklaces called “Hei” in Tahiti, “Lei” in Hawaii, “Ei” in the Cook Islands. These are given as a symbol of love, honor or friendship.
When you arrive in Tahiti, you will most likely be given one to wear by your travel operator which will give you that instant tropical island feel.
Other times when you will see lots of “Hei” is during festivals, weddings, graduations, birthdays etc.
Lei, Hei, or Ei Ring of Flowers
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