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Luau celebrates Hawaiian culture

By Savannah McCully
On April 16, 2012

  • Christine Tun (left), a senior pre-med major, and Charlyn Leon, a senior diatetics major, look at items for sale at the E Ho’la Mai Ka’Ike Lu’ last year in the University Center. Dan Obluda


Although the UNC campus is more than 3,000 miles away from the Hawaiian Islands, members of the Ha'aheo 'O Hawaii Club on Saturday transformed the University Center Grand Ballrooms into a festive luau celebration.
A luau is a traditional Hawaiian celebration that marks special events such as birthdays, graduations or to welcome visitors. Hawaiians have considered the rituals and foods prepared at luaus to be symbolic. For instance, the food served at dinner could represent virtues such as strength or courage.
The ballrooms filled with friends and food while attendees were treated to a special Hawaiian dance presentation that celebrated the history and culture of Hawaii. 
The night also followed a theme, incorporating the hit television series "Hawaii Five-0," which first premiered in 1968 and ended in 1980 but was recently re-imagined in 2010.
Guests were treated to a traditional luau dinner menu with entrées including roasted pork, chicken, long rice and a coconut pudding dessert.
After dinner, the Halau Hula 'o Ha'aheo performances began, in which 13 different traditional dances were performed. Many of the dances were exclusively male or female until the final couple performances and the finale. More than 20 dancers took the stage to bring the art of Hawaiian lu au dance to life. 
This year marked the 21st annual Hawaiian luau at the University of Northern Colorado, in which the committee and club members are devoted to sharing the culture of Hawaii with the community. 
"The luau is put on to present Hawaiian culture and to share the customs with the community," said Shawn Saito, a chairperson of the luau committee.
There are two organizations on campus that celebrate the customs of the Hawaiian lifestyle. The Ha'aheo 'O Hawai'I Club teaches students and the community about Hawaiian culture, while the Halau Hula 'O Ha'aeho club teaches traditional as well as contemporary Hawaiian dances.

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