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The Feast

The word 'aha'aina, translated, means "to gather for a meal". This is the basis of the modern day lu'au. In ancient times, food was often scarce and therefore quite precious. By partaking in the feast, the people shared a certain rapport and good will with one another. It was also believed that by offering the 'aha'aina to the gods, the gap between the mortal and spiritual worlds would be lessened and the gods would be more amenable to man. Thus, the 'aha'aina was the way the Hawaiians chose to pay tribute. Families and communities came together to celebrate momentous occasions such as victory in war, the birth of a child or other personal milestones. Today, the tradition continues. Families of all nationalities, living in Hawaii, prepare a lu'au in celebration of a child's first birthday, a wedding or graduation celebration.

In an effort to give visitors to the islands a glimpse of this Hawaiian tradition, many hotels and dining establishments offer a lu'au to their guests. These feasts feature either a traditional Hawaiian lu'au menu or one that embraces the culinary contributions from the variety of cultures represented in Hawaii. An integral part of the lu'au is the entertainment. Traditional or contemporary Hawaiian music is the usual accompaniment to the pupu or cocktail hour and may provide background music to the meal. The climax of the evening is usually some form of Hawaiian or Polynesian dance revue. After experiencing a lu'au , the visitor will be able to take with them a small portion of Hawaiian culture, as well as a pleasantly full ''opu (belly).

-Na Na I Ke Kumu


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