When you’re planning your Maui visit, we strongly suggest including a luau in your itinerary. It’s a party, it’s a banquet with Hula dancing, but it’s so much more. A unique tradition of The Aloha State, it is an unmatched experience when in Hawaii.
A luau is a celebration of Hawaii that’s rooted in decades of civilization. Everything has meaning, and you’ll learn much more about the islands and our special 50th state here in the USA. Luaus are used as traditional functions for celebrating life events such as marriages, births, and other milestones, but are now available for visitors to see some of the special parts of this wonderful celebration.
Attending Your First Luau
Luaus are traditionally held at sunset. Guests are greeted and immediately given a traditional lei. These flower necklaces are given to both men and women. Of course, you should accept and say mahalo, or “thank you.” It’s a breach of etiquette to refuse the gift of a lei or take it off. Pregnant women (“hapai,”) are offered an open-ended lei. The lei is traditionally draped around the head and shoulders. They are not thrown away and are not removed in the presence of the giver.
Rather than standard tables and chairs, guests sit on the beach around traditional low tables. This is because in the original luau, food was served directly on lauhalas, or woven ti leaf mats, and guests sat on the floor. Modern luaus continue the tradition, although some have tables and chairs for those who prefer them.
Dress comfortably, of course, in your favorite island wear. There are very few formal events here, so flat shoes, aloha shirts, shorts, and sundresses are ideal. You’ll be on the beach, and you’ll want to be comfortable.
While traditional luaus saw hundreds, and sometimes thousands of guests, today’s luaus are much smaller and run about three hours. The price includes food and entertainment, and may also include a drink or two, or have a cash bar.
Traditional Hawaiian Food
A big part of a luau is the food.
Of course, featured is the slow-roasted pork or Kalua pua’a. It’s cooked in the traditional manner, in an underground pit for at least 8 hours, along with other customary Polynesian foods. Sweet potatoes may be included since they are grown on Maui. Everything is wrapped in banana leaves before being lowered into the pit.
Other luau fare includes:
• Chicken long rice
• Fish (of course!)
• Haupia or coconut custard
• Lomi salmon
• Poi, a traditional Polynesian dish made from the native taro root
• Poke’, a traditional seasoned cut-fish-and-vegetable dish
• Tropical fruit—mango, pineapple, papaya
In addition to Mai Tais, other local drinks and cocktails are served, with non-alcoholic choices for children and those who abstain.
Entertainment And The Hula
A modern luau will include live music, traditional hula dancing, and cultural performances that represent the long history and culture of Hawaii. Hula is a traditional dance and don’t be surprised if you’ll be invited to join in. Dancers enjoy the hula at luaus and other celebrations which is a traditional expression of Hawaiian culture. It’s also fun, as you’ll see. The dance moves tell a story. Remember be respectful as the hula is a valued part of the Hawaiian culture and dancers should never be made fun of.
You may also be entertained by fire dancers, another cultural tradition. Both hula and fire dancers incorporate Hawaii’s rich history into their performances, complete with music.
Where To Find A Luau
The Hana Kai Maui resort staff can help you find a luau nearby or you can do your own search to find one. One suggestion is the Old Lahaina Luau, on Front Street in Lahaina, a Maui town. It is not attached to a resort or hotel.
Also in Lahaina is the Myths of Maui, which offers currently 7 weekly shows. There is also the Andaz Luau is in the south area of Maui, and Grand Wailea Luau is in the south-central area of Maui.
And if you can’t make it to a luau this time, you can always make plans for a return trip to Maui or if you attended one, you may consider making it a must do every time you visit us. When you are home, you could throw your own luau to entertain friends with what you learned. Get your leis ready, tell your guests to dress casually in Hawaiian shirts and serve up delicious Hawaiian Luau food and don’t forget tropical cocktails. You may even want to run a video that teaches your guest the Hula. We do not recommend teaching the Fire dance though! Leave that one to the professionals.
Maui Getaway? The Hana Kai Maui is a Must
Maybe we’re biased, but we think anytime is a good time to visit Maui. Book your visit soon. Let us know what you’re interested in doing while you’re here and we’ll help you find it. Leave plenty of time to enjoy the amenities of the Hana Kai Maui resort too though. Thank you (Mahalo) for checking us out.
When it’s time for you to experience Maui, call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaii time to answer all of your questions. Get in touch today to begin reserving your visit to Hana Kai Maui.