5 Reasons to Attend a Hawaiian Lu’au

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5 Reasons You Need to attend a traditional Hawaiian Lu’au

Hawaiian lu’au are an integral part of Hawaiian culture. Coming together to celebrate important events and spend quality time together is an important part of understanding Hawaiian culture. While the food will always be AMAZING, you’ll gain much more than a full belly by attending a lu’au experience.

Some History on Hawaiian Lu’au

Historically, lu’au were planned to celebrate important life events. In ancient Hawai’i, these events could be victory in a war, a marriage, a send off for voyagers before a canoe journey, a birth, a death, and other momentous occasions. Originally called an ’aha’aina, or “gathering meal” the modern day lu’au looks a bit different from its ancient Hawaiian counterpart.

In earlier times, the ’aha’aina practices required men and women to eat separately and only certain classes of people were allowed to attend. Certain classes and women of all classes were forbidden from eating certain foods due to their significance. These foods included moi, a Hawaiian reef fish known as the King of Fish, bananas, and pork. Because these foods were considered delicacies, only certain people could eat them.

Hawaiian Lu’au: Then versus Now

King Kamehameha II believed these restrictions and rules needed to change. He hosted a turning point lu’au in 1819 to symbolize societal change in Hawaiian culture. He ate alongside women and allowed everyone to eat all the foods present. This was the beginning of what we know as a modern day lu’au.

Fun Fact: King Kamehameha hosted the largest every lu’au in 1847. The meal took 271 pigs, cooked 3,125 ocean fish, 4,000 taro, and used 2,245 coconuts!

two lit tiki torches glow against a sunset background

Lu’au Today in Hawai’i

Now, lu’au are offered all around the Hawaiian Islands. They have become a highly popular choice for visitors to Hawai’i. Local families still host their own lu’au for friends and family. Most commonly, lu’au celebrations happen for 1st birthdays. The parents, their family, and friends all gather to celebrate a child turning 1 year old. High school graduations are all also a popular time for traditional lu’au for local families, as well as any kind of family reunion, wedding, or milestone birthday such as a 50th birthday or anniversary. If there’s an important occasion, then a lu’au is always a great choice for celebrating!

Reasons to Attend a Hawaiian Lu’au

There are many reasons to add a lu’au experience to your itinerary. Below, we list the top 5 reasons our team at Real Hawai’i Tours came up with.

Reason 1: Play Traditional Hawaiian Games!

Everyone loves a little friendly competition, right? In ancient Hawai’i, attendees played games before the big feast, working up an appetite and showing off their skills. When you attend a lu’au experience, you’ll be invited to play a range of traditional Hawaiian games as well!

Reason 3: Watch Amazing Hula and Dancing

Fire Knife dancing is an amazing display of skill, strength, and athleticism. Hula, requiring grace, dexterity, and physical control, is also incredible to see live. You’ll get to see both when you attend a Hawaiian lu’au.

Significance of Fire Knife Dancing

Fire Knife Dancing is an adrenaline pumping experience to watch. Fire knife dancers use real knives, real fire, and serious expertise to perform the dance. Fire Knife dancing has roots in Samoan culture. It is called Siva Afi in Samoan. Because of the interconnectedness of Polynesian cultures, Fire Knife dancing became popular with warriors and performers across Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga, and the Hawaiian Islands.

Significance of Hula Dancing

Hula was traditionally danced for two main reasons: storytelling and entertainment. The movements of the dances go along with songs. These songs often told stories of origins, places, etc. Dancing was also a form of entertainment during a lu’au, specifically for chiefs. The oli, or chants, that accompany hula were ways to communicate and honor gods and chiefs.

Reason 2: Eat Delicious Hawaiian Food!

Authentic Hawaiian food includes foods like laulau (pork or fish steamed in taro leaves), kalua pig (imu-cooked pork), haupia (coconut milk pudding), pineapple, and of course rice! Depending on which lu’au you attend, some other tasty options will be available too.

Reason 4: Better Understand the Spirit of Aloha

Lu’au are, at their heart, a celebration of life. Attending a lu’au will help you to better understand Hawaiian culture and gain a greater awareness of what Aloha truly means.

Reason 5: Celebrate a Special Occasion with Your Loved Ones

Traditional lu’au are ways to celebrate special occasions. Bringing your family or loved ones to a lu’au is an unforgettable way to celebrate a special occasion with a community of people. Our attendees have come celebrating their honeymoon, wedding anniversary, and birthdays. A lu’au is a unique way to commemorate a day that’s truly special to you.

Attend a Lu’au through Real Hawai’i Tours

Are you ready to attend a lu’au of your own? Real Hawai’i Tours offers lu’au experiences through Experience Nutridge, a premier lu’au experience with one of the best views in Hawai’i. We attended a lu’au ourselves and have a blog post in the works to tell you all about it!

Read more on the page about Experience Nutridge and stay tuned for the next blog post!