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Tiki Educational Pamphlet for Luau - Input requested!

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Hi All!

As part of the program flier we are planning to hand out at the Bloomsburg Community Luau, I felt it would be a good idea to dedicate some space to educating visitors on a bit of history and other information. I'm trying to be as factual and clear as possible while still keeping things succinct - which is often difficult. Feel free to fact-check as needed. (note: Louie and Mo are the mascots of the luau - caricatures of the first two large carvings I made) Would love TC's opinion on the text!



The Hawaiian word “luau” originally referred to the method of cooking meats by wrapping in banana and ti leaves and slow-roasting them. Over time (much as you would say you had barbecue AT a barbecue) it also came to mean a traditional Hawaiian celebration and feast, often including roast meats, fish, fruit, and other foods of all kinds. The first recorded luau took place in 1819, during the reign of King Kamehameha II. Before this event, Hawaiian culture was dictated by the Kapu (meaning “forbidden”) system of traditions, where men and women were forbidden from eating together, and women were forbidden at all from eating many foods. After Kamehameha II’s feast, during which he sat with women and shared previously forbidden foods and drink, word quickly spread through the islands that the King had broken Kapu, and as a result a new era of ‘Ai Noa (“free eating”) had been established.


“Tiki” is the name of the first man in Maori (native New Zealand / Aotearoa) tradition, and also the word for a carved human figure. Similar words and meanings can be found throughout Polynesian cultures and languages, such as “Ti’i” in Tahitian, and “Ki’i” in Hawaiian. During the 1800s, many Tikis, made of wood, stone, and other materials, were stolen to be placed on display in European and American museums, and many others were destroyed. Following the return of soldiers from the Pacific Campaign of WWII, and with the advent of Hawaii’s statehood, a craze for all things Polynesian, including Tikis, swept across the US. A new, more abstract style of carving Tikis was developed in California that was used to decorate the many restaurants, hotels, bowling alleys, and apartment blocks built in the new Polynesian-influenced style. After falling out of favor in the 1970s, in recent years a new appreciation has arisen for both “Polynesian Pop” or “Tiki” style and the native cultures on which it was based. Today, efforts are being made to return the original Tikis still in museums around the world back to their homes in the Pacific.


Though the giant stone statues of Easter Island (Rapa Nui), called “moai” (statue), are commonly depicted as only a head and shoulders staring out to sea, they actually face inland, and those that have only a head visible often have full, intricately carved bodies that have been buried by erosion over the last 500+ years. New moai are still being uncovered as of March 2023!

EDIT: Already found a typo: ti leaves, not taro!

[ Edited by Bam Bam on 2023-06-26 13:34:08 ]

I like it!


Looks pretty good to me.

And just in case you're interested, i watched this a couple of days ago and it briefly mentions Tiki and luaus at 7:27


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