With a history that’s considered both rich and somewhat tumultuous, Fiji is comprised of a diverse population with indigenous Fijian, Chinese, European and Indian heritage. Naturally, visitors to this tropical paradise will experience Fiji’s distinctive cultural diversity through arts, music, festivals and food. This all adds up to five top reasons to visit Fiji that are aside from the beautiful sand, sea and sun as warm as the people who love sharing their island homes with visitors.
1) Fire Walking Ceremony
With origins on the island of Beqa, Fire Walking is an ancient Fijian ritual that legend holds as being given by a god to the Sawau tribe. Prior to a ceremony, Fire Walkers must observe two strict taboos for two weeks–no contact with women and no consumption of coconuts. Failure to follow these rules may find them ending up with severe burns. During a performance, Fire Walkers stride single file across a pit of red-hot stones a few meters in length. Amazingly, their feet are unscathed.
2) Yaqona Ceremony
More commonly referred to as kava, the Yaqona (pronounced yanqona) Ceremony is Fiji’s traditional ceremonial drink. Concocted from the pounded roots of a local pepper plant mixed with water, the ceremonial beverage is consumed from a communal coconut shell. Whether being shared at a resort or in a local village, participants are asked to sit on the floor in a circle as the beverage is prepared in the tanoa bowl. As Fijian hosts rhythmically chant and clap, each person in the circle is invited to sip kava from the shell. Believed to have medicinal qualities, kava may leave the consumer feeling a little mellow with its mild sedative effect (Fijians call it relaxation) that delivers a slight numbing of the lips and tongue. In fact, kava drinking has proven to be a great social unifier, since it’s difficult to by angry with someone after sharing the ritual with them.
3) The Meke
The Meke depicts Fijian legends through love stories, history and spirit of the islands in a series of dances ranging from soft and gentle to loud and warrior-like. There are two groups in the Meke–the orchestra (Vakatara) that sits on ground and sings or chants for the second group, the dancers (Matana). Music is provided via percussion instruments that include hardwood gongs, bamboo
tubes and beating sticks. All performers wear flower garlands (Salusalu), with men donning full warrior costume and women dressed in traditional clothes and glistening with scented coconut oil.
4) The Lovo Feast
Prepared in an underground oven called a lovo, this traditional Fijian meal is akin to a New England clambake with different ingredients. Fijians place wood and large, flat stones into a large bowl, and then heat the stones until they are red hot. The remaining wood is then removed and the stones are spread out until they are flat. The feast foods typically include chicken, fish, pork, taro, yams and cassava that are wrapped in banana leaves and placed onto the hot stones from largest to smallest. This bounty is then covered with more banana leaves, coconut stalks and damp burlap sacks so that it can be cooked for some two additional hours.
5) Village Visit
On certain islands, visitors may be invited to visit a koro (local village) to observe daily Fijian life. If you are invited, you’ll be able to meet the village’s chief with a little protocol. You’ll need to purchase a small amount of kava (about half a kilo,) to present as a sevusevu (gift). You should dress modestly (no hats, camisoles, tank tops, no shorts or above-the-knee skirts) or cover legs with a sulu (Fijian sarong). You must also remove your shoes before entering any house or building and always speak with a soft voice. If you are invited into a home, be gracious, thank your host, remove your shoes before entering and leave them at the door. And note that it’s insulting to touch someone’s head. As our name reflects, Koro Sun is a village in its own right as mentioned above. Our Fiji resort “village” is located within a 160-acre sanctuary on the island of Vanua Levu. Here, you’ll find the genuine warmth and friendliness of the Fijian people, beautiful lush tropical surroundings, and warm, impossibly clear waters. In a remote setting that defines paradise, Koro Sun Resort & Rainforest Spa guarantees a genuine Fijian experience that is nirvana to the core.
For special offers, visit KoroSunResort.com/packages-specials. Come to paradise and let us share our cultural traditions with you.