A luau is a time-honored event that has been a meaningful part of the Hawaiian culture. The ancient Hawaiians held luaus that were great feasts to mark a celebration. These luaus were held for occasions such as winning a battle and having a bountiful harvest. They were also thrown to celebrate the birth of a baby as well as to show honor to the Gods. In the beginning, these feasts were known as aha’aina which meant a gathering for a feast. Later, they became known as luaus when they were named after the edible leaves of the taro plant. Those leaves were used to wrap food that was to be cooked in an underground oven.
Today’s luaus are often commercial parties thrown for visitors to the island or feasts that are held for groups of family and friends. Luaus are often thrown for birthdays, anniversaries and births. Whether you are throwing your own luau in a backyard, having it in a rented hall or you are attending a luau being thrown by someone else, one of the most essential luau decorations is the lei. Those who attend a luau can better get into the spirit of celebration as well as the traditional meanings behind the festivities by wearing a lei.
The Luau Experience
A luau is known for several activities that are all important parts of the celebration. The food is often the star attraction of the event. A roasted pig is often served along with traditional dishes, such as haupia and poi, as well as many native fruits and vegetables. Entertainment is another aspect. There may be dancers, songs sung or some other entertainment to keep the occasion festive. Commercial luaus often have hula dancers as well as fire jugglers. And part of the experience is for everyone from the entertainers to the hosts to the guests to wear beautiful leis.
Being a part of a luau during a visit to Hawaii is a special experience that allows you to be a part of many of the traditions of Hawaii. Part of that tradition is donning a beautiful Luau Party lei to celebrate the spirit of aloha and the welcoming embrace that it embodies. If you are throwing a luau, having leis available for your guests is a great way to welcome them and to make them a part of the celebration. Be sure to present each lei to your guests by placing it over their heads and around their necks. Then, offer each guest a kiss on the cheek to welcome them to the festivities.
The leis that you wear to a luau, or that you offer your guests, can be made from virtually any of the traditional lei materials. Nuts, flowers and leaves are all popular materials to wear to a luau. Men may prefer to wear a masculine lei such as the maile lei which is made from leaves, and women may prefer a fragrant floral lei full of bright colors. Whichever type of lei you choose for your luau, you are certain to feel more like celebrating when you wear this symbol of the aloha spirit.