Fiji Culture and Traditions
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.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Fiji, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
According to Abbreviationfinder, 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 Fijians.
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, cleaning, etc.
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 pieces.
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 separately.
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 India.
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 the children.
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 Easter.
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.
According to Countryaah, 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 diversity.