How traditional are the luau's in Hawaii?

Dear Sir or Madam,
Last Summer I stayed at Hawaii and visited a Luau. Now I'm studying International Tourism Management in Germany and I am currently writing a seminar paper. The main question of my paper is, whether the Luau which is offered by Hawaiian Hotels is still comparable to the aboriginal Luau or if there are many elements contained that did not exist in real but are only made to offer the guests a great experience. I would be really happy about an honest answer of you.


In response to your question ...when you use the phrase 'aboriginal', it prompted
me to qualify the period of time that you are asking about.
The history of native Hawaiians, and of Hawaiʻi in general, is classified into four major periods: antiquity (Ancient Hawaiʻi), monarchy (Kingdom of Hawaiʻi), territorial (Territory of Hawaiʻi), and statehood (State of Hawaiʻi).

The origin of the luau is rooted in the nature of Hawaiian royalty and religion. The modern luau began its formation in 1819 by King Kamehameha II. Before this famous feast, women and men did not share their meals together, so that would be the biggest difference..depending on how far back you want to go.
Social and religious taboos had forbid this division along with certain items to be eaten by women or men not of royalty. The dishes were enjoyed with ones fingers. Sitting on lauhala mats on the floor, large groups surrounded ti leaf covered tables adorned with large centerpieces decorated with flowers and other attractive and fragrant native flora. These tables would hold fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, and bowls of poi for the consumption of the Ali'i and their subjects. The favorite dish at these feasts is what gave the luau its name. Young and tender leaves of the taro plant were combined with chicken, baked in coconut milk and called luau. These are all types of food that are still served today at the Hawaiian hotel luaus, and others that are situated on sacred lands. The hula dance became a regular spectacle of entertainment as well as the introduction of Polynesian fire knife dancing after the Tahitians arrived in the 1400's. As time went on, these feasts continued to flourish with many of the traditional Hawaiian customs still intact. The main differences would be the modern day utensils we use, and some of the songs performed are from the more modern post discovery era. I hope that this has helped answer your question.

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The Hawaiian Luau, of all the various activities available in Hawaii, is certainly the most Hawaiian activity of all! The luau in Hawaii can truly only be found in Hawaii and this is the reason the Hawaii luau party has established itself in the hearts of the visitors who come to Hawaii as the quintessential Hawaiian event.

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