The Hawaiian Luau
In early Hawaii, it was the custom of its people to celebrate auspicious occasions with a feast. Whether it was the birth of a child, a victorious war, a successful harvest or the completion of a new home or canoe, the Hawaiians took time to honor their many Gods and to share their bounty with friends and family.
Called aha-aina (gathering for a meal) in ancient times, the term luau came into favor much later, and refers to the yours edible taro leaves that traditionally were used to wrap the food prior to being placed in the underground oven (imuu).
When the kapu system was abolished in 1819, women and men were able to not only eat together, but to share the same food. Until that time, port, banana, coconut and several species of fish were forbidden to women. Hence, the ancient feast that was so much a part of the Hawaiian culture became a treasured famish custom to play a significant part of island life.
Today's luaus are still a celebration of life. A time to share traditional foods, enjoy songs and dances of early Hawaii and to give thanks to our family, friends and, guests from other cultures.
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