Last updated on November 14th, 2017
Cultural facts of Fiji
#21. Village groups own over 80 percent of Fiji’s land, which is called Native Land, and use it for their village site and as a nature reserve.
#22. Villages are generally self-sustaining. They have a chief as their leader and each has a community center. Tourists may visit them but must bring a gift of kava with them and present it to the chief for the welcoming ceremony, known as the “sevu sevu”.
#23. Visitors are welcomed with white talc powder on their faces and leis of flowers and leaves from the villagers. Ladies should leave their jeans at home and wear modest clothing, like a traditional Fijian sarong (a “sulu”) to show respect for the residents and chief.
#24. Only the village chief is allowed to wear a hat and sunglasses. You must remove yours, please. You may also be required to remove your shoes in order to enter homes or other buildings.
#25. The village women play a game on New Year’s Eve called “veicaqemoli” (kick the orange). Played by two teams, the winning team must give gifts of new garments to the members of the losing team so there’s really more incentive to lose than to win.
#26. The Meke is a celebration of culture through traditional storytelling and dancing using songs that is performed at Fijian festivals. It is performed even more frequently during cultural shows at tourist resorts.
#27. Rugby is a national obsession. The national rugby team used to perform the Cibi (pronounced “thimbi”) before their matches. The Cibi is, appropriately enough, a war dance. It has now been replaced with their “mBolay!” war cry.
#28. The native Fijians are mostly Christian and the Indo-Fijians are mostly Hindu. The largest Hindu temple in the entire Southern Hemisphere is the Sri Siva Subramanuya Temple. This colorful worship site is in Nadi.
#29. The Fijians have a gift-giving culture. For a community ceremony one brings a large quantity of food. This food is also accompanied by gifts like bark cloth or whale’s teeth or kava (the national drink.) Ceremonies include village marriages and religious festivals.
#30. Typically village households contain extended families, including a nuclear family with in-laws and possibly other grown unmarried children. The cultural frowns upon elderly people living alone and uncared for.
Map of Fiji
Other random and interesting facts
#31. The 180°meridian, or International Date Line, runs through the island of Taveuni in Fiji. On that island there is a site where you can stand with one foot in today and the other in yesterday.
#32. Traditional Fiji meals include relishes, starches and a beverage. The starches include yams, taro, sweet potatoes and manioc. The relishes include meat, fish, seafood and leafy veggies. Water is the typical beverage of choice although hot tea with lemon leaves is also served.
#33. The traditional cooking method in Fiji is called lovo. Food is wrapped in palm fronds and banana leaves and roasted in an earthen pit lined with extremely hot stones. Pork, chicken or fish is placed in first on the bottom. Root crops like cassava, wild yams and taro cover the meat then the pit is filled with dirt and left to cook for three hours.
#34. Many islanders raise their eyebrows as a non-verbal way of saying “yes”.
#35. Fiji has a comparatively large armed forces and has been an active participant in numerous major U. N. peacekeeping missions throughout the world.
#36. One of Fiji’s international sports stars is professional golfer Vijay Singh. He is the winner of three major championships.
#37. Speaking of the Fijians’ love of gift giving, the most precious gift of all to give on ceremonial occasions is sperm whale teeth, presented with a long and formal speech.
#38. An interesting Fijian superstition says that coconuts have eyes. Furthermore, they watch for certain people on which they want to fall from the tree. So if a coconut falls on you, you can expect bad luck for several days, because it picked you specifically to fall upon!
#39. Kava, or Yaqona, is the national and traditional drink. Made from the powdered root of the Yoqona bush, it is mixed with water in a bowl called tanoa. Guests must clap before and after drinking from the dish.
#40. Kava is believed to have medicinal qualities and is used to treat: headaches, colds, insomnia, and anxiety. It has a bitter, tongue-numbing, unsweetened coffee taste. Visitors to villages are expected to present gifts of kava to the chief upon arrival.
Fiji – country at a glance
|Independence||10 October 1970 (from the UK)|
|Area||18,274 sq km|
|Population||920,938 (July 2017 est.)|
|Currency||Fijian dollar (FJD)|
|Religion||Protestant 45% (Methodist 34.6%, Assembly of God 5.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.9%, and Anglican 0.8%), Hindu 27.9%, other Christian 10.4%, Roman Catholic 9.1%, Muslim 6.3%, Sikh 0.3%, other 0.3%, none 0.8% (2007 est.)|
|Official Language||English, Fijian, Hindi|
|Suffrage||18 years of age; universal|
|National Anthem||"God Bless Fiji"|
|National symbol||Fijian canoe|
|National color||light blue|
|National holiday||Fiji (Independence) Day, 10 October (1970)|
|Climate||tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation|
|Terrain||mostly mountains of volcanic origin|
|Life Expectancy||72.7 Years (2016)|
|Industries||tourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber, small cottage industries|
|Exports||$986.3 million (2016 est.)|
sugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses, coconut oil, mineral water
|Imports||$2.397 billion (2016 est.)|
manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$9,400 (2016 est.)|
|Natural resources||timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower|
|Birth rate||18.6 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Death rate||6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Sex ratio||1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)|
|Government type||parliamentary republic|
|Prime Minister||Frank Bainimarama|
|Time Zone||FJT (UTC+12)|
|Internet country code||.fj|
|Drives on the||Left|
|Data sources||CIA, Wikipedia|
|Table last updated||September 7, 2017|