This Food Non-Fiction podcast episode is the story of the first ever luau. Hawaii's second king, Kamehameha II was only around 22 years old when his father died and he took the throne. With influence from his stepmother and birthmother, as well as changing beliefs sparked by Western contact, Kamehameha dined at the women's table during a feast in 1819. This was previously forbidden by kapu rules, but the king's act symbolized the end of the strict kapu system. The Hawaiian word for "feast" used to be "aha 'aina" but that word changed to "luau" after the feast of 1819 - the first Hawaiian feast where men and women dined together. Exactly when the word "luau" replaced "aha 'aina" is uncertain. Although some sources say the word "luau" was first used in 1856 in the Pacific Commercial Advisor newspaper, it was likely used before then.
Special thanks to Chico for the interview!
A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians (Edited by Thomas Biolsi)
The Hawaiian Luau (Food