Tiki culture is a motif of exotically decorated bars and restaurants catering to an escapist longing for travel to tropical regions of the South Pacific. Featuring mock tiki carvings and complex, alluringly named alcoholic drinks, it eventually influenced residential recreation.
Starting in California in the 1930s and then spreading around the world, it was inspired by the sentimental appeal of an idealized South Pacific, particularly Hawaii, Polynesia and Oceania, as viewed through the experiences of those who had visited such areas and a Hollywood lens focused on beautiful scenery, forbidden love and the potential for danger. Over time it selectively incorporated more cultural elements (and imagined aspects) of other regions that affected Polynesia, such as Southeast Asia.Tiki culture changed over time, influenced by World War II and the firsthand exposure hundreds of thousands of American servicemen gained during that conflict. In time its appeal wore off and both the culture and the hospitality industry theme all but died off.
The early decades of the 21st century have seen a small renaissance of interest in tiki culture, including a limited commercial revival. In addition, it has attracted people interested in history, urban archeology and retroism.
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