Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Old Lahaina Lu’au

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Thanks for following my adventures up, down, and all over Oahu. Up next: Maui!

One of the most memorable places I went to in Maui was the Old Lahaina Lu’au. As you likely know, a lu’au (or luau) is a Hawaiian feast with entertainment; but nothing I’ve read or watched on TV prepared me for the fun, energy, and cultural significance of the lu’au.

At Old Lahaina we were told of traditions that Hawaiians have passed on for generations. The story I remember best was that of the volcano goddess Pele (not to be confused with the soccer player). Every incident with a volcanic eruption in Hawaii is said to be Pele’s way of expressing her longing to be with her true love, a young chief named Lohiau.

Once we learned the story we were treated to a specific hula dedicated to the goddess. Some attendees—including me— were brought on stage to learn the dance. I imagine I’m in the background of many people’s photo albums now!

As you may have guessed, the best part about the lu’au was the food. The main dish was the pig, which was wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an underground oven. They also served various taro-based dishes. The broad-leafed plant looks like this (see right). The part you eat, the corm, could be described as a hybrid of a coconut and a potato—in looks, not taste.

The lu’au ended with watching a beautiful sunset over the ocean. Does life get better than that?

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