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One of the most festive experiences to be had on a visit to the Hawaiian Islands is a luau – a Hawaiian feast featuring lively music and vibrant cultural performances from Hawaii and greater Polynesia.
History of the Luau
The first feast in Hawaii resembling a modern-day luau was probably held in 1819. Before then, the kapu system of restrictions, religion and resource management separated men and women at mealtimes, even in times of celebration. Other names for these feasts are ahaaina or paina, but over the course of time, the nickname luau – a reference to the taro leaves at the core of many popular dishes – stuck.
Two centuries later, luau are still being celebrated. But it is important to note that despite the name and its Hawaiian roots, not all food or entertainment at a luau today is Hawaiian. A contemporary luau in Hawaii reflects our multi-cultural society. Food at a family luau is as diverse as the various branches of the family tree. Entertainment at a visitor luau often includes dances and music from other Polynesian cultures.
Popular Luau Dishes
- Poi: Pounded taro plant root; a starch meant to be eaten with everything.
- Kalua Pig: Pork prepared in an imu (underground oven) and shredded.
- Laulau: Meat wrapped in luau (taro) leaves and steamed, traditionally prepared in an imu.
- Haupia: Coconut pudding.
- Poke: A term that literally means to cut into pieces, this newly global delicacy is traditionally prepared with raw fish, shoyu (soy sauce), green onions, kukui nut (candlenut), and limu (seaweed).
Find a Luau to Attend
Enjoy an exquisite gathering with an authentic experience of old Hawai'i. As the sun sets, treasure this mesmerizing setting as you indulge in island culinary treats with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Watch as music and dance bring the story of Polynesia to life.
There is nothing quite like Warren & Annabelle’s venue… anywhere in the country! Voted “Best Activity/Show on Maui” by the readers of Hawaii Magazine, and Maui Revealed Guidebook says, “If you only see one show on Maui, this is it!”
Discover Hawaii’s most authentic luxury Luau at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. A beautifully curated cultural and culinary experience set among our iconic grassy lawn and the sandy shore of Mokapu beach.
The Wailele Polynesian Luau has been designed to bring traditional and authentic dances, songs and colorful costumes to visitors of this beautiful island, Maui.
Award-winning luau, featuring traditional Hawaiian cuisine, open bar, authentic hula, leis, Tropical Hawaiian Village setting, oceanfront.
The sound of a conch shell welcomes you to the Sunset Luau! A starlit Kona sky, an array of delectable Hawaiian dishes, and a journey through the islands of Polynesia in traditional music and dance create an unforgettable evening.
Experience Hawaiian history, culture and tradition through vibrant song and dance depicting extraordinary voyages throughout the South Pacific. Engage in interactive cultural activities and feast on fresh island delicacies. Celebrate the spirit of adventure, romance and culture of these islands.
Waikiki’s only outdoor Luau features extravagant Lei greetings, Hula kahiko performers, 4 acrobatic fire dancers and authentic Hawaiian dining in a memorable setting beneath the starlit, mid-Pacific skies.
Haleo luau at Sheraton Kona celebrates the history of Keauhou and those who came from this area. From the birth of Kamehameha III to the surfing stories of Heeia Bay, dancers and musicians take guests on a journey through a very special time in Hawaii's history.
Experience an exhilarating and enchanting journey through Hawaiian history—and discover its deep cultural roots in canoe (waʻa) exploration, which brought the first ancient explorers to the shores of Ko Olina.