The luau tradition is still very much alive, and Hawaiians find plenty of excuses to have one. If you live in Hawaii for any period of time, you will inevitably receive an invitation to attend a luau party. Hawaiian luaus are rooted in tradition. According to Aloha-Hawaii, in ancient times, Hawaiians celebrated traditional holidays to celebrate special occasions (such as the birth of a baby, a successful harvest, or victory in battle).
It was a way of honoring and thanking the gods for all their good fortune. Nowadays, you can find luaus all over the island. They're a great way to learn about Hawaiian culture, sample delicious traditional Hawaiian food, and celebrate another day in this beautiful state. However, keep an eye out for luaus that is too tourist-oriented.
If you're going to attend a luau party, you have to do it right. A good way to know if a luau is worth it or not is to take a look at what is on the menu. If the menu skips traditional dishes such as kalua pork, salmon and poi, you'd probably better look elsewhere. Most visitors who are disenchanted by luau say that the problem is simply food.
Traditional Hawaiian food just doesn't feel right on everyone's palate. There are luaus for babies, which are given on the child's first birthday; luaus at church, the local equivalent of the church dinner; and family luaus, which are sometimes celebrated for dozens of relatives under a tent on the lawn and that last for days. Do your part by leaving local animals alone, along with other wildlife on the do not touch list, such as sea turtles, humpback whales, and various types of fish. While there are plenty of great and inexpensive dining options on Maui, many people choose to dine alone at their hotel or at the newer, over-the-top restaurants, easily spending two or three times what they could have spent on a lovingly prepared meal and locally sourced ingredients elsewhere.
In addition to the above, luaus will most likely serve local favorites such as fried rice and veal or vegetable curry, and they can also have more traditional buffet dishes such as salads, bread, chicken and ribs.