About the Hawaiian Luau
Lu'au weren't always called lu'au. Until the mid-1800s small get-togethers were called pa'ina and large banquets — the equivalent of today's lu'au — were referred to as 'aha'aina. These root words mean, among other things, "gathering" ('aha) and "eating" ('aina).
Local records show
Much has changed since the days of the ancient lu'au. Women and men are allowed to eat together, which was forbidden in Hawai'i before the Hawaiian culture's system of kapu (taboos) was eliminated in 1819. Women are also allowed to eat foods that were once denied them, such as bananas, coconuts, pork, turtle and several types of fish.
The lyrical hula dance — now referred to as the ancient, or kahiko, style of hula — was once accompanied with chants (mele) to honor the gods. Today it is performed for entertainment and to remember the ways of old. A more modern style, called 'auana, has become popular since the 1970s, when a renaissance of native Hawaiian culture began. Both styles are performed at lu'au, and commercial events often showcase Tahitian and Samoan dance styles as well. Tahiti and Samoa are believed to be ancestral homelands of the Hawaiians.
Although some lu'au menus have evolved to include sushi, teriyaki chicken, Chinese manapua buns and the ubiquitous macaroni salad, traditional lu'au food is served at many events. Authentic dishes include:
- kalua pork (an entire pig roasted underground in a handmade pit called an imu oven)
- lomi lomi salmon (diced with tomatoes and onions, like a salsa)
- chicken long rice (transparent noodles)
- huli-huli (barbequed) chicken
- haupia (coconut custard)
- laulau (pork, chicken or fish wrapped and steamed in ti leaves)
- poi (taro root mashed with water into a pale purple paste)
As Christianity swept through Hawai'i in the 19th century, the lu'au lost its pagan roots and became more commonly a chance to relax and enjoy family and friends with good food and music. This spirit prevails in nearly every aspect of life in Hawai'i. One of the most dutifully observed local rituals is the "baby lu'au," a grand celebration staged on a child's first birthday. Lu'au are also held for graduations, class reunions, and other important events.
- From $1,049 - 8 Nt. Oahu & Maui Package w/Air, Hotel, Transfer & Taxes
- Escape the ordinary at the luxurious Hotel Wailea Maui
- Kaanapali Beach Hotel - special rates from just $174!
- Save 20% on your Maui Vacation Condo!
- Free additional driver with Discount Hawaii Car Rental
- Guaranteed cheap car rental rates with national rental companies
- The Plantation Inn, Maui's Premier Bed & Breakfast - $196 (save over 20%!)
- $619+ Maui 3 nights w/Air. FREE fullsize Car Rental at select resorts PLUS save up to $100 per Booking!
- Royal Lahaina Experience Pkg with luau, dinner cruise, daily breakfast & more! $335/nt
- $675+ Aston Kaanapali Shores: 3-night Studio with Air. Includes FREE fullsize car rental, $100 off PLUS kids 12 and younger stay, play and eat FREE.
Hawaiian Airlines: Special Offers
- Kaanapali Beach Hotel - 4 night Best of the Beach package just $1385
- Volcano Value Rates at Royal Kona Resort from $129
- Come be a part of history – VIP access is only the beginning
- Hawaii 3 nights w/ Air – FREE fullsize Car PLUS save up to $100!