The bountiful food and lively Polynesian performances of today’s lu‘au have their roots in a proclamation by King Kamehameha II that abolished a long-standing tradition that men and women eat separately. The 1819 feast where the King ate with women was a symbolic act that ended the religious taboo and is considered the first lu‘au. The lu‘au got its name from the most popular food item at the feast, chicken and young tender leaves or taro baked with coconut milk.
The royal lū‘au of ancient Hawai‘i were large and lavish events, ranging from one hundred to over a thousand people at a single feast and with an abundance of food. King Kalākaua, affectionately known as the ‘Merry Monarch,’ hosted a large lū‘au for his 50th birthday, inviting over 1,500 guests. The largest lū‘au on record was in 1847 when Kamehameha III hosted a feast that required 271 pigs, 482 large gourds filled with poi, 3,125 saltwater fish, 1,820 freshwater fish, 2,245 coconuts, and 4,000 taro plants.
‘Aha‘aina Wailea, A Grand Wailea Luau offers a magnificent feast prepared with local meat, fish and produce on the beach at The Grand Wailea Maui. Honua‘ula takes guests back to a time when the mighty seafaring Polynesians discovered these islands of Hawai‘i, thereafter calling themselves Hawaiian. It touches upon the documented voyages of La‘amaikahiki and Mo‘ikeha who ﬁrst came to the sacred island Maui, and named it Honua‘ula. It speaks of gods and goddesses that watched over these courageous people and how they were able to co-exist and live in harmony.
Lilinoe, the goddess of the mist was said to linger above, sending cool rains to nourish the uplands of Maui. The love story legend of Naulu, the goddess of the clouds, could only visit her lover Kanaloa upon the clouds. These stories combined create an exciting evening of traditional chant and hula bringing the history of Maui to life. Come feast and drink at the open bar at this highly rated show—you can even participate in an on-stage hula lesson!
Drums of the Pacific Lu‘au, Maui’s longest-running show, has entertained over two million guests since its first feast in 1980. Hosted at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, the lū‘au takes place on the Sunset Terrace where guests enjoy the sun setting over the island of Lanai and the Pacific.
The Drums of the Pacific Lu‘au takes guests on a journey back in time with authentic music and dance; embarking on a Tahitian voyage to old Hawai‘i through the South Pacific islands of Polynesia. An exclusive story told only at this production, “Nani O Makaiwa” sings the praises of the area that spans from Hanakao‘o (Canoe Beach) to Kapalua. Nailima, a young sister calls upon the owl guardian, the spirit Wahine Pe’e to save her brother being held captive by rival warriors. There is a romantic hula tribute to honeymooners, and couples celebrating anniversaries. The finale is a thrilling Samoan fire-knife dance. After a traditional imu ceremony, feast on Hawaiian cuisine and sip cocktails at the open bar.
[A version of this article appears in print in the pages of This Week Maui]