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Hawaiian party or feast, 1853, from Hawaiian lu'au, literally "young taro tops," which were served at outdoor feasts.
a modern Hawaiian banquet. Luau originally denoted only the leaves of the taro plant, which are eaten as a vegetable; it came to refer to the dishes prepared with the leaves and then to the feasts at which the dishes were eaten. The term designates the modern, informal feast, as distinct from the ancient ceremonial banquets that were ritualized and attended only by men.