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    Updated on Jun 19, 2020. Posted on Jun 19, 2020

    Fiji Cultural Traditions You Need To Experience To See How Special They Are

    One of the most important things people do not know about Fiji is that its population is incredibly diverse. It is made out of indigenous Fijians, Europeans, Indians, and Chinese so heritage appears from all of these cultures. In fact, Fiji is one of the most culturally rich travel destinations you can consider. And a visit means experiencing everything in a tropical paradise. Besides the warm people, sun, sea, and sand, if you decide to visit Fiji, make sure that you also take the following cultural traditions into account and be a part of them. You will not regret them.

    1. Fire Walking Ceremony

    Fiji fire walking ceremony
    ajlybbert / Via youtube.com

    Fire Walking appeared in the Beqa island and it is an ancient ritual in Fiji. The legend claims that this was actually given to the Sawau tribe by a god. Before the ceremony, the fire walker needs to respect two important taboos. He is not allowed to have contact with women and cannot eat coconuts. If the rules are not expected, it is said that severe burns will appear. As the fire walking ceremony happens, the fire walkers walk in a single file across red-hot stones. And their feet are not burnt. It is just like in the movies but much more special since you can see it first hand.

    2. Yaqona Ceremony

    Fiji Kava making
    Tammy616 / Via GettyImages

    Also commonly known as Kava, Yaqona is the name of the traditional ceremonial drink in Fiji. It is made out of a local pepper plant. Its roots are mixed with water and then consumed from a coconut shell. You often see Yaqona served in local villages or at resorts as an extra activity for family holidays in Fiji. Usually, people sit on the floor with Fijians preparing the drink inside tanoa bowls. As expected clapping and rhythmic chanting are a part of the experience. While kava is thought to have medicinal properties by the locals, you want to experience the ceremony and might enjoy the slight numbing sensation that will appear in your tongue and lips.

    3. Meke

    Meke Traditional Fiji Dance
    Pacific Songs and Movies / Via youtube.com

    Meke is a ceremony that depicts legends in Fijian lore, history, and spirit. It is practically a series of dance routines that range from warrior-like and very loud to very soft and gentle. Two groups are involved. The first one is the orchestra (known as Vakatara). Members sit, chant and sing for group two, which is made out of dancers and is called Matana. Percussion instruments are used for the music, like hardwood gongs, beating sticks, and tubes. Salusalu (flower garlands) is wore by all the performance and the men usually wear warrior costumes while women are dressed in Fijian traditional clothes.

    4. Lovo Feast

    Fijian Lovo
    Kaila and Kiki at Nomlist / Via nomlist.com

    Lovo is a traditional Fijian meal that is preferred in a lovo, which is an underground oven. It is similar to the clambake from New England but includes some different ingredients. You can see large, flat stones and wood put inside a very large bowl. Stones are heated and the wood that remains after burning is removed. Stones are spread flat and cooking uses the stones. Usually, Lovo feast involves fish, taro, pork, chicken, cassavara, and yams. These are all wrapped in banana leaves and placed on the very hot stones. Then, more banana leaves, damp burlap sacks, and coconut stalks are placed over. After cooking happens (it takes around 2 hours), you can eat.

    5. Koro Visit

    Small, isolated villages on Fiji’s outer islands still practice the hospitality custom of sevusevu
    Don Mammoser/Alamy / Via bbc.com

    There are Fijian islands where you can visit local villages (koro) in order to observe the daily traditional Fijian way of life. When invited, you need to meet with the village chief so you go through protocol. You have to buy around half a kilogram of kava so you present it as gift (sevusevu). You are asked to dress modestly and to cover your legs. Also, you have to remove shoes before you enter someone’s home and you have to be careful that you do not touch anyone’s head since it is considered to be an insult.

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