Growth of luaus in modern culture
Luaus are as big a custom in Hawaii as they ever have been, if not more so thanks to increased interest from other cultures, to such a degree that many people in Hawaii have actually helped to make an industry around foreign interest in the culture. Of course, it’s not just a business to them – luaus were and indeed still are an integral part to authentic Hawaiiana. In expanding luau culture beyond simply native Hawaiians, it has helped to keep the culture going strong.
A brief history
Even if your understanding of Hawaiian history and culture is somewhat limited, you are sure to know much of the basics. I’m sure you’ve seen the grass skirts, the food, the atmosphere, and of course, the flower leis. The history of the luau in Hawaii dates back to 1819 when King Kamehameha II deemed previous religious laws that requires that men and women to eat separately be removed, and celebrated their revocation by having a meal with the women. Foods and drinks that were often eaten at luaus would include chicken, Kālua Pig, squid, coconut milk, Lomilomi Salmon, poi, and others; the food would typically be eaten by hand rather than utilizing utensils.
Celebrating the luau with flower leis
Generally, luaus should be hosted in outdoor, open areas. Good choices for hosting a luau can include a park or a backyard. Traditionally, a luau is expected to feature music played with ukeleles and drums. Before setting up a celebration however, it is paramount that you also have set up leis – a necklace that can be made from different materials such as flowers. Another alternative to setting up the leis yourself is to have invited guests bring their own materials to make into the leis that they will wear for the festivities. Not only can this help cut down on cost and time, it can also make it more entertaining for the guests, who will be able to have something to take home with them afterward. It also encourages more lei variety. While it is common for people who are not a part of Hawaiian culture to have Luau-themed parties, the first thing you should take into consideration when setting it up is to be respectful. After all, if we are going to be discussing the luau and the lei as they relate to modern societies and cultures, we certainly should discuss this! Try to be as accurate and authentic as you can, and always make sure that your goals are to celebrate the culture rather than simply forgetting about it the next morning! Ultimately, just try to treat it with as much respect as you would want your own culture to receive. A good way to go about this is to try and consult or otherwise learn from Native Hawaiians on the culture, to do research into things that might ultimately prove offensive, and generally educate yourself, which is always a good idea in my book! Not only will you come out if it knowing a little bit more about this great culture, you will also be able to throw a stand-out luau that your friends will not soon forget. When all’s said and done however, you should try to make the perfect luau that everyone is going to enjoy, so try not to get too stressed about the details!
Common reasons to host a luau
Typically, a luau is hosted for the sake of celebrating a happy occurrence or event. Such events may include birthday parties, holidays, family get-togethers, marriages, and births. Luaus are often private occasions intended for friends and relatives to participate, though visitors to Hawaii have a good variety of public luau events that they can attend. These events are often specifically intended for visitors to enjoy. Just make sure to check in advance where and when they will be hosted so that you do not miss them!
Creating a proper lei
Understanding the culture and the work behind it
Generally, it’s pretty easy to get leis for a celebration (luau or not), as a common, cheap item are the plastic flower leis that you can buy at many stores in and outside of Hawaii. However, if you are prioritizing authenticity for a luau-themed celebration, it is of the utmost importance to make sure to understand the culture and the process – or at least get your leis from people who do. Hawaiians put a lot of care and attention into the leis that they make, and often the kind of material that goes into the creation of a lei communicates a unique message. For instance, a lei made from orchids is typically given to someone to express thanks, while a lei made from carnations are meant to express love for a person, or at least used to emphasize the love between two people (such as at a wedding). Some leis are more subtle in what they mean – for instance, a lei made from kukui nuts is meant to show respect and/or admiration for another person (due to its origins of being a symbol of royalty), while a lei made from ti leaves similarly is meant to show respect and/or admiration, but in a more specific context (ie graduations, weddings, etc.). Thus, it is important to make sure that whatever leis you buy or create should be the right ones for the occasion!
Making decisions regarding your luau can be hard and time consuming. If you’re finding yourself strapped for time, FlowerLeis can help to not only cover the leis for your special event, but also help you keep it nice and varied. We offer fast shipping, great selection, and most importantly fresh flowers that will suit your needs – no matter if the leis are to celebrate a graduation or to pay sympathies to someone. Check out our selection to see the beautiful array of flower leis that we are offering!
Discovering your ideal lei
Everyone has their own unique taste in things, and leis are no exception to this rule. Be it whether you want to find a certain kind of lei based on its material, or you want to find a lei that utilizes a favorite color of yours. We discussed in some detail what certain materials when used in leis mean, so for this, we will focus on color meaning. Depending on the perspective, colors can have a variety of different meanings, but often certain colors when matched with certain meanings have a fairly popular, consistent theme to them. Here are some common color interpretations.
1. Red – Red is often used to represent passion and emotion, which is due in part to its association with heat and flame.
2. Green – Green invokes earth tones and colors, while making people feel natural and peaceful.
3. Blue – Blue often conveys serenity, and invokes feelings of the ocean. A darker blue can denote male, while a lighter blue may denote female.
4. Yellow – Yellow often conveys optimistic values, and reminds people of sunlight.
5. Pink – Pink is famously associated with femininity, and with good cause – pink gives off a very pure, motherly concept (though it is certainly up for debate as to whether the chicken came before the egg on that!).
6. Black – Often, black can be used to denote mystery.
7. White – White often denotes purity, such as how a bride wears white.
Of course, while these colors have positive undertones, they also have negative ones. For instance, red can mean anger; green can mean jealousy; yellow can mean fear; pink can mean low self-worth; black can mean death; and white can mean empty. So when you choose a lei for yourself or another, be sure to consider the context of the color and design! Ultimately, you should go for the material and color that best suits your personality, and try not to allow external influences to determine how you roll. When choosing specific colors and materials for another person’s leis however, being considerate of their tastes is of the utmost importance.