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What can you expect at a traditional Hawaiian luau?

You've heard of luaus, but do you actually know what they are? This tradition is a big part of Hawaiian culture so it's definitely worth learning about before your big holiday. Because, sure, you've been to a buffet before - but you've never been to an event like this. The spread is amazing, the people are welcoming and the entertainment is on another level. There is a method to this madness - just come see for yourself.

Here's a step by step guide of what to expect when you attend a Hawaiian luau. 

The greeting

When you walk up to a luau, you aren't greeted by a boring old hand shake like you would be at a neighbour's barbecue - oh no! You'll likely feel like royalty, because when you arrive at a luau you are instantly greeted with a fresh flower or shell lei. This part of the tradition gives you an instant sense of belonging.

The mingling

Once you're in, most luaus will have an open bar, so everyone can sip on something tropical while they mingle. As other guests join the party, you will usually find that there are demonstrations of traditional arts, crafts and games. At this point, stomachs are starting to rumble as noses get a whiff of the slow roasting dinner. 

The imu ceremony 

Before you can settle into dinner however, you have to observe the imu ceremony. The imu is the underground oven that is cooking the meat - the most popular meat is typically pork roasted over a coal fire. It's a small ceremony that honours the process of cooking and use of the imu.

The entertainment 

As people settle into their seats, it's common for luaus to organise some type of musical song and dance. The mingling continues at this stage because luaus usually seat you at a table with strangers - so if you haven't made any new friends yet, you're certainly going to over this feast.

The dinner

Now it's finally time to chow down. Most hosts will serve the pork with fish or chicken and tropical fruits and vegetables depending on what's in season. Once you're full, you can get up and enjoy some more cocktails and dancing.

Fire dancing 

We told you the entertainment was next level! Just as you think the night is about to wind down the real show begins! The fireknife dance is the traditional way to close out a luau - it's a mesmerising show that you won't want to get too close to if you want to save your eyebrows!

Doesn't sound like a bad itinerary, does it? Now that you know what to expect, the only thing left to do is experience it in the flesh - have fun!