Fiji’s history is rich and fascinating. From the time the first people arrived in Fiji from Melanesia, a unique culture started to form that was based on a strong respect for the ocean and intense reliance on the tropical jungle. As other groups migrated to Fiji from India and Polynesia, the customs of these special islands became more diverse and multi-dimensional.
Today, many of Fiji’s customs are preserved and practiced by local people. Visitors have a special opportunity to participate in many of Fiji’s most famous customs. In particular, these five Fijian customs are worth exploring on your Fijian vacation.
#1: Learn the Skill Behind Basket and Mat Weaving
Across the Fijian islands, weaving is a traditional and highly valued skill. Fijians, mostly women, learn at a young age how to weave baskets and mats out of palm fronds. In fact, the majority of girls know how to weave by the age of nine or 10. Sometimes, this skill is practiced to sell baskets and mats as souvenirs, but in many places, the resulting products are still used in everyday life in Fiji. They are used in the home and often gifted at weddings and other celebrations.
Visitors can also learn how to make the woven baskets. Your Fijian vacation may include a village tour or other local experience, which is also a fantastic time to learn to weave or how to make other Fijian handicrafts.
#2: Be Amazed by Fiji’s Traditional Storytelling
Cultures around the world have a history of storytelling. In some places, storytelling is the art of weaving words and portraying deep emotion through a single voice. These are the traditions that gave us dramas and theatre. In other traditions, dance and music provide the backdrop to epic journeys and love stories. The storytelling in Fiji, called meke, is physical and beautiful. Dancers dressed in traditional garments perform traditional dances that tell stories of love, island spirits, religion, and origin of the islands.
If you have an interest in different cultures, religion or art forms, then seeing a meke performance should be at the top of your list.
#3: Lighten Your Mood with a Single Word
One of the best traditions in Fiji is also the easiest to try on your Fijian vacation. All you need to know is one word, and trust us, you’ll hear it all the time while on the islands. That’s the word bula. This Fijian word literally translates to “life,” but in Fiji, bula means hello, how are you, see you later, hope you are well, and conveys a general sense of excitement and greeting.
Of course, it’s the emotion of this word that really matters. It’s a sign of welcome and happiness. While you are in Fiji, you can adopt the word bula, and the outlook and attitude that comes with it!
#4: Partake in Fiji’s Most Famous Beverage
Kava is certainly Fiji’s most well-known drink. And simply trying this slightly narcotic drink is a truly unique experience in Fiji, but participating in a kava, or yaqona, ceremony and traditional ritual is truly something special. There are specific customs that surround sharing kava that date far back into Fiji’s history, and many locals are happy to share them with visitors on a village tour or even at your resort.
#5: Tradition to Watch in Disbelief
One Fijian custom that still shocks visitors is the Fiji fire walking ceremony. Today the fire walking ceremonies, which supposedly originated on the Fijian island of Beqa, are mostly performed for vacationers and guests in Fiji, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive. Visitors sit in awe as locals walk across a row of red, fire-hot coals – emerging on the other side without burns and seemingly unscathed.
While we encourage visitors to take advantage of the opportunity to see Fijian fire walking, we also recommend leaving participation in this custom to the experienced.
Living These Fijian Experiences
Are you ready to do more than simply read about Fiji’s customs and top experiences? If so, this is the year to book your Fijian vacation. Raiwasa Private Resort is ready to welcome visitors from around the world to Fiji and introduce you to the best of Fiji’s customs and traditions. Reserve your week at Raiwasa today.