Jon Burch Photography
Photograph - Digital Capture/digital Painting
A luau is a traditional Hawaiian party or feast that is usually accompanied by entertainment. It may feature food such as poi, kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi, haupia, and beer; and entertainment, such as Hawaiian music and hula. Among people from Hawaii, the concepts of "luau" and "party" are often blended, resulting in graduation luaus, wedding luaus, and birthday luaus.
In ancient times, including ancient Hawaii, men and woman ate their meals separately; also women and the rest of society were not allowed to eat foods that were not common or foods that were only served during special occasions. However, in 1819, King Kamehameha II removed all the religious laws that were practiced. The King made a symbolic act, where he eats with all the women, ending the Hawaiian religious taboos leading to the creation of the first luau parties.
Earlier, such a feast was called a pā'ina or 'aha'aina. The newer name comes from that of a food always served at a luau: The main dish of the luau is called luau and is made of chicken baked in coconut milk with taro added. Another dish that was served is poi, a diet food also made from the roots of taro. This feast was usually served on the floor with mats holding usually large centerpieces made of ti leaves. Utensils were never present during a luau as everything was eaten by hand. For example, poi received its name form the amount of fingers needed to eat it, "three finger, two finger, or the thickest, one finger poi".
Since our hotel room was five floors above the location of a roof-top luau, we never actually went to one as we could observe the party from above every night during our stay.
Photograph copyright Jon Burch Photography
March 3rd, 2013
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