Immerse yourself in Fiji’s rich cultural heritage by exploring its warm and welcoming traditions. Experience the enchanting songs of welcome, warm smiles, and friendly waves that are part of the country’s traditional Fijian culture. Everywhere you go in Fiji, you’ll be serenaded by the strains of island music, even when you’re out at sea, paddle boarding or snorkelling. Witnessing the colourful fish with a live Pacific soundtrack playing in the background is a special kind of magic that you’ll never forget.
Indulge in a delicious traditional Fijian feast cooked in a ‘lovo,’ an underground earth oven heated by hot stones. The slow-cook technique used in the preparation produces beautifully tender food with great flavor and a light smokiness that’s hard to resist.
Experience Fiji’s traditional customs and discover its warm and welcoming culture, which will leave you with an unforgettable experience.
Fiji culture and dance performances
Experience the rich and vibrant Fijian culture through their traditional dance performances. Fijians are known for their love of music and dance, and cultural ‘meke’ is an integral part of their daily life. These performances showcase a variety of traditional songs and dances, from elegant fan dances to awe-inspiring war dances that will leave you spellbound. The dancers wear traditional outfits, with men dressed in warrior costumes adorned with Fijian tattoos and women dressed in brightly colored clothing and wearing coconut oil on their skin. Accompanied by a group singing, chanting and playing percussion instruments, each performance tells a story of history, love or legend. Don’t miss the chance to witness a meke performance during your trip to Fiji. Fijians take great pride in their culture and their performances are of exceptional quality. Explore the rich Fijian culture through their dance performances and immerse yourself in the magic of Fiji.
Traditional Fijian food
When it comes to dining in Fiji, you’ll find that traditional Fijian food and authentic Indian cuisine are a must-try. While the resorts and restaurants offer delicious international cuisine, nothing compares to the flavors of indigenous Fijian feasts, cooked in a ‘lovo’ – an underground earth oven heated by hot stones. This slow-cook technique produces beautifully tender food with great flavor retention and a light smokiness throughout. Expect to savor yam, taro, kumala (sweet potato), cassava (tapioca), and mouth-watering dishes featuring pork, chicken, fish or lamb.
Fijian Indian culture and traditions have developed into a unique blend of traditional spices, fresh local ingredients, and a hint of Pacific flavors. The Indian cuisine has evolved from the early days of laboring in the British-backed sugar industry. If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, then you’ll love the delectable flavors of Fijian Indian dishes.
In Fiji, English is widely spoken and taught in schools, but Fijian and Hindi are also official languages, particularly among indigenous Fijian and Fiji Indian cultures. Learning a few words in Fijian and understanding how to pronounce the main place names correctly can help you connect with the locals and earn you a few extra smiles.
The universal Fiji greeting is ‘Ni sa bula’ or simply ‘bula’, and ‘vinaka’ (pronounced vee-na-ka) is how you say thank you. Saying yes is ‘io’ (ee-or) and no is ‘sega’ (senga). It’s important to note that the letter g is pronounced as ‘ng’, so Sigatoka is pronounced Sing-a-toka. Additionally, the letter d is pronounced with an n before it, so Nadi is spoken as Nandi. Pronouncing an m before the letter b is also essential, so Toberua is pronounced Tom-be-rua. Finally, the letter c is pronounced ‘th’, so Mamanuca Islands is pronounced Mama-nu-tha Islands.
Don’t worry if you struggle with the pronunciation. Fijians are warm, friendly, and understanding, and they appreciate visitors who make an effort to learn their language. So, take a chance to learn some Fijian phrases and pronounce the names correctly. It’s a great way to enhance your Fiji experience and immerse yourself in the local culture
Religion plays a significant role in Fijian culture and heritage. With the multi-cultural nature of the population, you will find a wide range of religions being followed in Fiji. As you travel across the main islands, you will see many examples of Christian churches, mosques, and Hindu and Sikh temples. Even if you’re not religious, attending a Fijian church service can be a great way to experience the magnificent singing and deepen your understanding of Fijian society. It’s important to dress conservatively and check with your accommodation provider regarding suitable local churches and protocols to show respect for the local customs and traditions.
Experience the true essence of Fiji by taking a village tour. Many tour operators and small island accommodation providers offer formal visits to authentic local villages. Even if your main goal is to relax, taking a village tour will help you make a deeper and more lasting connection with Fiji and its unique culture and traditions.
In rural areas, traditional village life is still deeply rooted. The village is usually led by a chief, and extended family groups live together, providing communal care and support for all. Fijian people are famously welcoming and easy-going, but it’s essential to keep in mind a few etiquette rules while visiting a village. Firstly, it’s customary to bring a gift of powdered kava root (sevusevu) for the chief. If you’re with a guide, they’ll take care of this for you. Dress modestly with shoulders and knees covered, remove your hat before entering a village, and take off your shoes before going inside a home. Most importantly, never touch someone on the head, even if they are young children.
Villages that welcome visitors are genuinely interested in sharing their way of life. The humble pride they show, from the chief to the young children, is impossible to miss. So, bring an open mind, relax, go with the flow, and be ready to learn. By the end of the tour, you’ll leave with a fresh perspective on the world, along with a happy face from laughing and smiling like never before.
Keep exploring Fiji to discover its rich cultural heritage.