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Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono


April 27, 2021

The Hawaiian luau history is ancient and is rooted in the nature of Hawaiian royalty and religion. In ancient Hawai‘i, it was a strong religious belief that men and women ate their meals separately and also had different types of food. Delicacies were also only for the royalty. The modern luau began its formation in 1819 when King Kamehameha II abolished these traditional religious practices. As a final end to these practices, King Kamehameha II ordered a feast of delicacies and sat down and ate with the women and commoners

Luaus were not just regular meals, but large feasts with many people invited. The name luau, meaning "taro plant", was named after one of the most popular dishes served at the feast that was also considered a delicacy - chicken and taro leaves baked in coconut milk. Today, we call it chicken luau.

The key to choosing a great luau is cultural accuracy. You’ll want to find an event that serves up delicious Hawaiian and Polynesian delicacies like kalua pork, taro, and poke. The entertainment should also feature authentic demonstrations like traditional hula or Samoan fire knife spinning.

Top 5 luaus to visit:

  • Germaine's Luau

  • Paradise Cove Luau

  • Chief's Luau

  • Polynesian Cultural Center Luau

  • Ka Moana




Complimentary Cultural Programming

Excellence in Hawaiian performing and visual arts is an important part of our mission. Royal Hawaiian Center offers complimentary classes throughout the week. Join expert kumu (teachers) in such arts as lei making, lauhala weaving, hula, 'ukulele playing and more!

Visit our IGTV channel to view our virtual cultural classes. 


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