Customs and traditions
The Fijians are known for their welcoming and
hospitable culture. Hierarchies within the family and in
society are important.
" Bula "! That word quickly becomes a
foreign visitor to Fiji. It is used as "hello", but also
means "welcome" and also has the meaning of wishing the
other a good life. This versatile greeting illustrates
the welcoming attitude that Fijians consider to
characterize their culture.
Overview of the capital city of Fiji, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
A Fijian man usually greets other men with a firm,
downward handshake. Then they hold each other for a
while while they talk. Women often exchange an air kiss
near the cheek and perhaps a slight hug if they are
close acquaintances. Between the sexes you often settle
for a slight bow and a "bump".
Among Indo-Fijians, body contact is less common. They
are often greeted with squeezed palms in front of the
chest and a slight bow, followed by a " namaste
" or " namaskar ".
During calls, it is normal to stand at approximately
arm's length. You rarely touch each other, and
especially touching someone's head. However, a steady
eye contact is accepted in most contexts. At scheduled
meetings, a foreign visitor is expected to arrive on
time. Even Fijian Indians tend to consider punctuality a
virtue, while time is a more fluid concept among ethnic
Visit in Fijian village
You take off your shoes before you go into someone's
house. It is considered polite to hesitate on the
threshold if you really should go in, and well inside
you should modestly settle down as close to the door as
possible until you are asked to enter the finroom.
In a traditional Fijian village, the families that
rank highest are closest to the center. In those
neighborhoods, visitors should behave respectfully by
not wearing sloppy or flashy clothing, sunglasses or
hats and not be gapy and loud.
In both groups, women have the greatest
responsibility for the household and children's
education. In the cities, it is quite common for the
indiscriminate women to work outside the household as
well, but they are still the ones who handle food,
Although Fijians and Indians have borrowed some food
from each other, the eating habits of both groups are
generally quite different. Fiji staple food is usually a
root fruit, such as jams, taro, sweet potato or cassava
(cassava). They also eat a lot of breadfruit, bananas
and nuts. This is supplemented by meat, fish or seafood
and vegetables. Preserved meat and fish are also
popular. Water, coconut milk or fruit juice are the most
common meal drinks.
Many Indians are vegetarians and base their diet on
rice or different kinds of thin bread, beans, lentils
and vegetables. Those who eat meat usually refrain from
beef if they are Hindus, or pork if they are Muslims.
In a Fijian home, the evening meal is the most
important thing. It is usually served on a canvas on the
floor and the whole family gathers. No one is allowed to
take charge until the "master of the house" has taken
his place. The men are served first and receive the best
When there are guests in the house, it is they who
will start serving the food. It is odd of the family
members to take first, but it is also nice to point out
to the guest that it is time to start.
Among the Indians, men and women usually eat
A popular dish, reminiscent of South American ceviche,
is kokodo (also kokoda). There are
small pieces of white fish fillet that are marinated for
many hours in lime juice and then mixed with finely
chopped onions, peeled and chopped tomatoes, green
chili, coriander and coconut cream and served on a salad
leaf in a bowl.
Lovo is a way to slowly cook meat or fish
and vegetables in a pot in a pit between heated stones.
It usually occurs at large events.
Palusami is a dish made up of meat or fish
with coconut milk wrapped in taro leaves.
The food of the Fijian Indians is generally somewhat
milder than in India and often contains Fijian
ingredients such as taro or tapioca, which is not found
In the Fijian households, men have the main duty of
livelihood. Women, in the countryside, take care of the
children, cook, care for the garden and collect
firewood. The men clear new ground, hunt and fish and
repair the house.
In both groups, society is strongly male-centered and
women have little influence. Although the girls often
have better school results, it is primarily the boys who
are allowed to move on to higher education.
Nowadays, marriage is rarely arranged by the parents
among ethnic Fijians, but a marriage is still often
regarded as an alliance between two families and not
just as a matter between individuals. In most cases, in
the countryside, the new wife moves into her husband's
parents' home where they live with his younger or
unmarried siblings, a grandmother or grandfather,
perhaps an aunt. In the cities, the Western nuclear
family is more often the norm.
In both peoples groups, tradition has given man
priority in inheritance. Nowadays, the law grants a
widow the right to one-third of the household's assets
at the death of her husband, the other two-thirds go to
Holidays and Holidays
Fiji celebrates all the usual Christian, Hindu and
Muslim weekends and some of them are a concern for the
entire nation, such as Prophet Muhammad's birthday or
Hindu diwali (dipavali), as well as Christmas and
When "red days" happen at a weekend, you make the
weekend of the Friday before or the Monday after, so as
not to miss any extra leave.
Among secular weekends is Lala Sukuna Day,
dedicated to the memory of Fiji's first modern statesman
who is regarded as the father of the country, even
though he died twelve years before independence. The day
of death was May 30, 1958, but the celebration can last
for a week with the highlight of the Friday closest to
Memorial Day. National Youth Day on May 4 is a
big event even for the country's adults. Queen
Elizabeth's official birthday on June 15 is still
celebrated, more than 40 years after independence.
Fiji Day, October 10, celebrates both the
submission under British rule 1874 and the proclamation
of independence in 1970. For a full week until October
10, a series of cultural and religious events are held
that highlight the country's ethnic and cultural