Maui, Hawaii
1251 Front St
Lahaina, HI 96761
(808) 667-1998

A History of the Hawaiian Lū'au August 13, 2019

A History of the Hawaiian Lū'au, Maui County, Hawaii

No island vacation or staycation is complete without going to an authentic Hawaiian lū‘au. Dating back 200 years, Hawaiian communities held these lavish celebrations to mark major events. If you know the history of these gatherings, you’ll enjoy your lū‘au experience that much more.

An Ancient Tradition 

The first Hawaiian lū‘au was hosted in 1819 in response to King Kamehameha II abolishing strict religious rituals regarding mealtime. Before then, men and women could not dine together. Additionally, only nobles were allowed to consume certain delicacies. In an effort to unite his people, the king organized the first lū‘au, originally called ‘aha‘aina

In those days, people ate on the floor together surrounding a beautiful centerpiece comprised of native flora. Poi was typically served at these gatherings with kalua pig, a variety of fish, and sweet potatoes. The name lū‘au, which means “taro leaf,” came from the early menu too. It refers to a dish made of coconut milk, chicken, and taro plant leaves. 

Today's Celebrations 

hawaiian luauToday, lū‘au are held all over the islands for locals and tourists alike so everyone can immerse themselves in the culture. Naturally, modern celebrations are considerably different from those of a century or two ago; however, many elements remain the same. For example, no lū‘au is complete without kalua pig. And in homage to the large-scale events of the royal lū‘au, which became increasingly more resplendent with every passing year, traditional entertainment is a big part of today’s gatherings. You can expect to see hula dancers at every celebration. 


Old Lāhaina Lū‘au is proud to host traditional Hawaiian lū‘au for all to enjoy, as they have for more than three decades. Your evening will start by donning a fresh flower lei and commence with dinner, drinks, and breathtaking entertainment. To buy tickets for your party, visit their website or call (808) 667-1998.

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