What is a luau?


The feast and festivities of the luau are the traditional ways that the people of Hawaii have celebrated special occasions. The birth of a child, a victorious battle, and a successful harvest are all events that called for the honoring of the gods and the sharing of bounty with friends and family.

Called Aha’aina (gathering for a meal) in ancient times, the term luau came into favor much later in our island history. It refers to the young edible taro leaves that are traditionally used to wrap the food prior to being placed in the imu (underground oven).

With the abolishment of the ancient Hawaiian Kapu (taboo) system in 1819, women and men were able to eat together and to share the same food. Prior to that time, women and men dined apart. Women were forbidden to partake of several foods including pork, bananas, and several species of fish. Since 1819, the ancient feast of Aha’aina, or the luau, that was such an important part of the Hawaiian culture, has become a treasured family custom and continues to play a significant part in family life.

Today, a traditional luau is often used by family and friends to celebrate a baby’s first birthday, or as an important way to raise funds by churches and social groups.

The Paradise Cove Luau carries on this traditional celebration of life. The Paradise Cove Luau ‘ohana (family) shares our traditional foods, the songs and dances of early Hawaiians and the friendship of our many cultures.