Although I've lived in Hawaii for six years now, I have never been to a luau. Well, up until last month, that is. To be honest, I haven't been all that interested - I try to avoid touristy things in general. But when everyone came out for the wedding, we all went together.
So here's how the typical luau runs:
When you arrive, your picture is taken and you are given a shell lei which you discreetly hide in your purse.
Everyone gathers around a fire pit where "Hawaiians" dig out the pig which is supposed to have been sitting on embers in the dirt all day.
Masses of humanity line up for the food line where the pig is waiting, having been magically sliced in record time.
Everyone stuffs their faces, timidly tasting the poi which they feel is necessary to their Hawaii vacation experience.
A few carefree volunteers from the crowd get up on the stage to practice hula.
The mob moves to the bigger stage area where the real show begins.
Hula dancers attempt to display the multi-cultural influences in Hawaii, starting with blue tinsel and proceeding to grass skirts, coconuts, etc.
Forgive my cynicism, but I feel like this doesn't portray Hawaiian culture very well. It gives tourists what they're looking for, but to me, it comes across as kitschy. We did have a good time however, all the family together, so I'm not going to complain.
This couple obviously took the luau very seriously:
Excavating the kalua pig:
Peacocks wander the grounds:
Blue tinsel to visualize water:
Pele, the volcano goddess erupts: