Life in simple huts
In many villages, people live in traditional huts made of local materials such as bamboo and palm leaves. When someone needs help, it is normal for everyone to lend a hand and help. There are many small villages in the Fiji Islands. Most of them can only be reached by small motor boats that are also used as fishing boats.
Spear fishing or fishing with large nets is important because the people of Fiji eat a lot of fish. Fish is an important food. Fruit and fresh vegetables are just as important for the diet. Much of it is grown by the people themselves and so they need less money for food.
Water doesn’t necessarily come from the tap
Not every village has electricity. Water pipes are not a matter of course. When you turn on the tap at home, water will usually flow out of it. This is not always the case in Fiji. Often times, even those who have a water pipe have to wait for water. That is why the rainwater is collected.
Life without a supermarket?
On the small islands there is no supermarket for shopping and often not even a shop. Go to a restaurant for dinner? Nobody would come up with such an idea. The residents often have to travel long distances to go shopping, by bus or car, if there is one, or by boat.
If you want to shop at the market, you have to go to the large markets in Suva, the capital, or in Sigatoka. Fijian residents buy local produce in small markets.
Life (almost) without money
Those who live in the city often have problems because there is a lack of jobs there. But without work there is no money and no one can survive in the city without money. It’s a lot easier in the country. Many fail in the city and remain poor. There is also no mutual help here as is usual in the country.
Life in the village is still very traditional today. So the children have to adhere to the guidelines and rules of their parents. Dealing with children is not always understanding or full of consideration.
Festivals and Celebrations
Colorful folk festivals
There is a lot of celebrating in the Fiji Islands, a country located in Oceania. Maybe the reason people are so friendly is simply because partying keeps them in a good mood. The so-called Meke dances, which are sung in choir and accompanied by guitar or ukuleles, are popular. Here mostly men dance and recreate legends and stories during the dance. It is often danced with fans and spears. But drums or bamboo tubes are also important musical instruments that are used.
The dance of women is called Vakamalolo. They dress in typical tapa robes and sway while sitting to the sound of the drums.
A special feature is the “fire running”. This is probably part of the Indian tradition, but it is also practiced by the locals. Men run with bare soles over hot stones. A custom that is by no means recommended for imitation.
The most important festival on the islands is the so-called Hibiscus Festival, which takes place in the capital Suva and is celebrated for a week.
Kava is the national drink in the Fiji Islands. After the harvest, the roots are dried and pounded in the sun.
In a kava ceremony, you sit cross-legged in a large circle around the kava bowl. Three people sit right next to the bowl, one of whom is handing out the kava bowls. Before the ceremony, the boss gives a speech and afterwards the kava is drunk. Before you drink, you have to clap your hands. When the bowl is finished, you have to say “Maca”, which means “ready”. Kava has a slightly numbing effect, but unlike alcohol, it’s not about getting intoxicated.
If you visit locals on the Fiji Islands, you should definitely bring kava roots as a gift, at least that’s the custom.
On the following photos you can see how kava is traditionally prepared.
Eating in Fiji
A mixed bag
Since many people from different cultures live in Fiji, there are delicious dishes from Polynesian, Indian, Chinese and European cuisine.
Taro is always part of it
For the locals, taro is mostly on the menu. These are the popular root vegetables that are also served as a main course on most of the South Sea islands. Sure, fish and seafood are also part of the island. And there is also a coconut cream called Lolo in Fiji. Pork and chicken are also on the menu.
… also the breadfruit
A classic method of preparation – also typical for the islands of the South Pacific – is in an earth oven. In Fiji this is called Loho. The breadfruit, which comes from the breadfruit tree, is just as typical. You can also dry them and use them as flour as an alternative.
… and fresh fruits
The Indian cuisine is also popular. So you can eat a lot of Indian dishes in Fiji. And whatever is always fresh here is fruit, often picked straight from the tree: bananas, guavas, pineapples, papayas and mangoes are among them.