Last updated on May 12th, 2021
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.
Fiji on the map
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 force 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||total: 18,274 sq km
land: 18,274 sq km
water: 0 sq km
|Population||943,737 (2022 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.)|
|Government type||parliamentary republic
|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|
|Highest point||Tomanivi 1,324 m|
|Lowest point||Pacific Ocean 0 m|
|Life Expectancy||74.27 Years (2022)|
|Natural resources||timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower|
|Prime Minister||Frank Bainimarama|
|Time Zone||FJT (UTC+12)|
|Industries||tourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber, small cottage industries|
|Exports||$1.23 billion (2020 est.)
water, refined petroleum, fish, raw sugar, gold (2019)
|Imports||$1.97 billion (2020 est.)
refined petroleum, aircraft, cars, wheat, broadcasting equipment (2019)
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$11,000 (2020 est.)|
|Birth rate||16.56 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)|
|Death rate||6.37 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)|
|Sex ratio||1.03 male(s)/female (2022 est.)|
|Internet country code||.fj|
|Drives on the||Left|
|Table last updated||July 26, 2022|