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What comes to mind when you hear the word “luau”? Hawaii? Hula dances? Feasts that are simply overflowing with food? Well, we’re going to introduce you to the basics of the contemporary luau from the history to the foods that you can expect to be served during your experience. Stick around as we delve into this exciting tradition.

The Traditional and the Contemporary luau

Now, what is a traditional luau and how does it differ from the contemporary luau? The luau is a Hawaiian feast that includes high-spirited music, dance and performance. This feast was originally referred to as “ahaaina,” combining the words for gathering and meal. There was a transition to the use of the word “luau,” which is a taro leaf served throughout the Pacific Islands.

Which Foods Should You Expect to be Served?

As we mentioned previously, a roast pig (or “Kalua pig,” which utilizes an underground oven) is both a traditional and contemporary staple that you should expect at any luau. Another staple is mashed taro root. If you aren’t already aware, taro is nutty, mild-tasting and is a root vegetable. Here are some of the other foods that are popular at the contemporary luau:

Is your mouth watering yet? Prepare to be dazzled the next time you stay with Ola Properties and attend a contemporary luau. At Ola Properties, we will help you make the most out of your tropical getaway.

Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, and rich cultural traditions. This includes the famous Hawaiian luau, an exciting event consisting of a traditional feast, music, and dancing. Thanks to their immense popularity, luaus are easy to find throughout the island of Oahu. However, three specific luaus on Oahu best illustrate the culture and spirit of the Hawaiian islands.

#1: Paradise Cove Luau

The Paradise Cove Luau is known across Oahu for being one of the best in the state. The luau’s beachfront location in the Ko Olina area makes it extremely convenient for resort guests. Great for all ages, this luau allows participants to partake in demonstrations of traditional Hawaiian crafts prior to dinner and entertainment. A few lucky visitors will even participate in Hawaiian dancing during the show! Paradise Cove offers the convenience and ease of a resort stay with the excitement of island traditions.

#2: Germaine’s Luau

Germaine’s Luau is another convenient option for visitors to West Oahu, located near Barber’s Point. While it is slightly off the beaten path, visitors can drive or opt to take free transportation from Ko Olina (Saturday and Sunday only). Set in a beautiful beachfront locale, Germaine’s “backyard-style luau” boasts a low-key and highly relaxed vibe. Visitors will not be disappointed as they enjoy a multitude of island traditions before, during, and after dinner. Germaine’s fun luau on Oahu allows its guests to enjoy the traditional luau in a laid-back and comfortable setting.

#3: Ali’i Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Often touted as the most authentic luau, the Ali’i Luau is just a small part of the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) experience. Guests receive admission to the Center with their luau ticket purchase, allowing them to delve into a variety of exhibits on the history and culture of the Polynesian islands. After they are complete with their exploration, the luau takes them on an exciting journey through Polynesian culture through food and entertainment. While it is located a one-hour drive from West Oahu, those who choose to make the trek will thoroughly enjoy their immersive experience!

All three luaus have great attributes that will give you an amazing opportunity to become fully immersed in the culture of Hawaii. Each luau website listed above provides specific details on various price packages and amenities that are tailored specifically to your desired experience. No matter which luau you choose, you will undoubtedly leave filled with the spirit of Aloha!

In the modern day, the conch is a commercial symbol of the Hawaiian culture and is featured in various pop culture scenes, such as the children’s show “Spongebob SquarePants.” However, this whimsical shell holds both historical and religious significance to Native Hawaiians and continues to represent a vital aspect of the continuation of their traditions. 

History of the Hawaiian Culture

The history of the pu dates back to prehistoric times and was shrouded in supernatural glory. It is believed that a group of biologically small native Hawaiians known as the Menehune of Waolani in the beautiful Nu’uanu Valley right here in O’ahu were controlled by Chief Kiha using his mighty conch. The royal conch was stolen from the Chief and legend goes that the Menehune blew the conch so insistently at night that a thief from the chiefdom stole the shell back, but chipped it on his way back.  

Communicating with The Shell

The conch was initially used to signify the beginning of the new year known as Makahiki in which a royal entity known as Ali’i or ‘royalty’ arrived on Earth. The ceremony dictated that the shell must be blown in the four cardinal directions, North, South, East, and West to represent the coagulation of the powers of the na Akua or gods. But further than this, the pu represented practical communication uses. When blown correctly, a conch may be heard from miles away and was useful for those in the sea to communicate with their brothers and sisters on land. 

Technique is very important when using a pu or conch. Volume and pitch are controlled mostly by the user’s lips and hands rather than the force with which he or she blows. Traditional technique suggests holding your lips slightly apart while humming to create a “raspberry”-like sound. The hand can then be used to affect pitch and volume in the opening of the shell.  

Today, the shell is used for many of the same ceremonies you may play traditional music for, such as weddings, baptisms, or funerals. There are many festivals around O’ahu today that emphasize the conch and its importance to Hawaiian culture. Be sure to visit the websites below to find a local O’ahu event to see the modern day pu in use.