What is a Luau?

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What is a Luau?
A luau is a Hawaiian or Hawaiian-themed celebration or feast. It involves partying with lots of food and various entertainment including dancing and singing to the tune of Hawaiian music or “hula”. From its Hawaiian roots, the term “luau” has become synonymous with basically any celebration that is held on the beach or that is themed like the original Hawaiian style party.

The term “luau” originally referred to the tops of the taro plant. Then the term became known as a favorite Hawaiian dish involving meat mixed with taro leaves and coconut milk. This dish became a common choice when Hawaiians celebrated birthdays, weddings, and baptismal events among others. These Hawaiian celebrations eventually became “luau” feasts back in 1856. But it is said that roots of this Hawaiian feast actually came from ancient times. In the distant past, the people of Hawaii had a feast called “aha’aina” which was done to celebrate various occasions including victory from war, thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, and to worship their gods among others. The main idea was that in order to properly be thankful, a particular celebration should be shared with other people. This celebration then became what is now known as the “Hawaiian party” or “luau”.

Luaus of today still resemble the original Hawaiian celebrations of the past with a variety of traditional Hawaiian food items offered to guests. Traditional “hula” dance music is still played to have an authentic Hawaiian-themed celebration. But many luau parties also became modernized and changed with the times. Modern music is now used along with traditional Hawaiian musical instruments. Luau parties have also become tourist attractions for many hotels and restaurants across Hawaii. And in other parts of the world, luaus are also organized in a variety of locations with the parties themed to resemble the original Hawaiian celebrations.

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