There’s No Such Thing as an Authentic Luau

Two men carry a roasted pig at Aloha Kai Luau, Oahu.

There’s No Such Thing as an Authentic Luau

by Dorine C., October 23, 2018

An authentic luau doesn’t exist. That got your attention, didn’t it?

Tasty flesh. Good for making tropical drinks. As a personal undergarment? Not so much.
Tasty flesh. Great for making tropical drinks. As a personal undergarment? Not so much.

Hawaii: the home of honeymoons, coconut bras, and Dog, the Bounty Hunter. In truth, none of these actually exemplify Hawaii (except Dog—nothing screams Hawaiian more than a blond guy from Colorado talking pidgin). Hawaii is a lot like the rest of the United States, only more scenic, with chattier locals, better beaches, prettier people, and bigger surf. OK, maybe it’s not exactly like the rest of the United States.

Authentic Luaus, Be Careful What You Wish For

The point is, things aren’t always what we might imagine them to be. Luaus are a prime example of this. Some people may expect authentic luaus to be exact replicas of what the Hawaiians did hundreds of years ago. Trust us, there are things that the ancient Hawaiians—and everyone else, for that matter— did hundreds of yours ago that you wouldn’t want to experience today.

Did you know that in the old days, Hawaiians rode surfboards that would have given you more splinters than riding an unpainted hundred-year-old fence in your birthday suit? Or how about the fact that if your shadow fell on the wrong person, you could have been put to death? It wasn’t all bad, though. In old Hawaii the year had two seasons, one of which was entirely devoted to playing games, eating and drinking, and generally lollygagging around.

Some things are better left in the past.
Some things are better left in the past.

People like to complain about life in 2018, but have you watched Game of Thrones? How about Locked Up Abroad? We should all be thanking our stars for modern plumbing.

What You’re Really Looking For Is Fun

What we’re getting at is that there are no truly authentic luaus in Hawaii because the Hawaii of today doesn’t much resemble the Hawaii of long ago. And all things considered, that’s probably a good thing.

While the luaus in today’s Hawaii aren’t historically-accurate reenactments, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything about Hawaiian culture, and have a damn good time while you’re at it. If we were to tell you that we’re taking you to a beautiful corner of paradise, where the food is delicious, the scenery (both place and people) is out of this world, and the music and dancing will blow your mind, would you complain because it’s not exactly what Captain Cook encountered when he landed at Kealakekua Bay in 1779? If you answered “yes,” you might have issues and we probably don’t want to sit next to you.

Today's luaus are a lot more fun.
Today’s luaus are a lot more fun.

Seriously, who cares if your luau experience isn’t a college-level history lesson? In addition to all the tasty food, there’s a super fun show, fire knife dancing, fun games for kids, refreshing adult beverages for grown-ups, and a glimpse into a culture you might not know much about. It shouldn’t take away from your enjoyment if the show isn’t 100% based on actual historical events. After all, you enjoyed Jurassic Park without being bummed out that we can’t really bring dinosaurs to life, didn’t you?

Bottom line, today’s luaus are a great way for you to experience elements of Polynesian culture in an entertaining way while surrounded by the beauty of a tropical paradise. Isn’t that enough reason to book one?

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