What is the Tahitian flower tradition?

The Tahitian flower tradition

When arriving in Tahiti French Polynesia, 6th stop of my world tour, and my 49th country visited, my host at the Carlton Plage residence greeted me with a traditional fresh Tahitian flower necklace. But what is this Tahitian tradition?

In the South Pacific islands, including the famous Moorea, Bora Bora, and Tahiti French Polynesia, they have several Polynesian flower traditions, of which you'll succumb when visiting the Polynesian islands.

The flower necklaces are named Lei, the floral crowns are named Hei, and the blossom behind the ear is called a Tiare.

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See below how and when to wear them for an amazing stay in Tahiti, which cannot be complete without a flower necklace - and they're all made of real and fresh flowers!

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The Lei, Tahitian flower necklace

The flower necklace, called a Lei, and sometimes a Hei, is a gesture of hospitality and welcome, which word is Maeva in Tahitian.

When been greeted by your hotel, or your host if staying at a private place, such as the amazing Carlton plage, they will most likely welcome you with a fresh Lei, a Tahitian traditional flower necklace made with fresh local flowers.

They will place it around your neck, on your shoulders, as soon as they see you arriving.

These necklaces are generally made with frangipani or orchids flowers, and should not be thrown in the trash! They will only last for a day at most, as they are made with fresh flowers, but can be kept for a day in your room to perfum it, and should be disposed by giving it back to the earth, by letting it rest on the ground, or floating on the water.

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The Hei, fresh real floral crown

A fresh floral crown is called a Hei, and is generally more used for wedding celebrations, graduations ceremonies or festive gatherings than for daily standard occupations.

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It can look great especially on girls when going to a party, to stand out from the crowd while looking even more local.

The Tahitian traditional female dancers will wear a Hei while performing, but also will do the brides and grooms that are getting married on Tahiti island.

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The Tiare blossom behind the ear

When going out in Tahiti, show your romantical status by wearing a Tiare flower blossom behind your ear!

If put behind the left flower ear, it means that you are currently married, taken or in a relationship.

If put behind the right flower ear, it will mean that you are available for new romantical encounters.

Meeting somebody while going out, after having been wearing a Tiare blossom behind your right ear? Wave it behind your head, this will mean to somebody you are attracted to that it is time to follow you...

You can wear the Tahitian flower traditional Tiare at any time, not only when going out to party.

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Common questions on Tahiti, French Polynesia

  • What is the best time to travel to Tahiti? Temperatures are similar all year roun, but from May to October, the winter, it is the best time to travel to Tahiti. During Summer, from November to April, it can be very hot, humid, and rainy.
  • What is the national flower of Tahiti? The national flower of Tahiti is the Tiare, which you can wear behing your ear everyday - left flower ear if you're taken, right flower ear to signal that you are single.
  • What is the symbolism of a Lei? The Lei is a symbol of hospitality and welcome.
  • Which ear do you wear a flower behind? Wear it on the left flower ear if you're taken, and on the right flower ear if you're single.
  • Where to buy floral crowns in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia? Buy them at the municipal market in Papeete. It costs only a few euros or dollars there, against nearly 10$ when going out.
  • What are Tahitian necklaces called? Tahitian necklaces are called Lei.
  • What side do you wear a flower if you're single? You wear a flower on the right side if you're single.
  • What side should a woman wear her flower? A woman should wear her flower on the right side if she's single, and on the left side if she's taken.
  • What does wearing a flower in your hair mean? The flower ear on the right side, it means you're single. If you wear it on the left side, it means you're taken.
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