Culture of Fiji

Fiji is a real melting pot of the Pacific and our population of approximately 837,000 is made up of indigenous Fijians, Indians, Chinese, Europeans and South Pacific Islanders.

Fijians are renowned for their “bula hospitality” and for being the friendliest people in the world. Your respect for their customs and traditions will not only make you a welcome guest in their villages but add another dimension to your Unique holiday.

A sevusevu ceremony is a wonderful way for you to experience Fijian culture and tradition when visiting a village. This traditional custom is the presentation of a gift of kava to the head of the village (“Turaga Ni koro”). The very popular drink Kava, yaqona (“yang-go-na”), also locally known as ‘grog’ is a peppery, earthy tasting drink made from the root of the pepper plant. From village disputes and major political decisions to singing and relaxing, the kava bowl is where it happens.

Once the chief has accepted your gift of Kava you are a welcome guest of the village.

Generally Fijians are very relaxed and laid back, but it is important to dress modestly and respectfully when entering the village. Your sulu is perfect for covering your shoulders and knees. It is also respectful to take off your hat and sunglasses as the head is “sacred space” to Fijian’s and is considered to be your connection to Heaven, so covering your head is insulting

Language

One of the great things about our South Pacific paradise is that the majority of people speak English as well as Fijian or Hindi. When visiting the outer islands on Unique, you will mostly come in contact with Fijians. If you take the time to know a few key Fijian words you will win over hearts and earn you even bigger smiles and lots of appreciation.

Historically Fijian is an oral language, so most of the time you can phonetically sound the words out. But as always there are some exceptions to trip you up! Any word with a ‘d’ has an unwritten ‘n’ in front of it – Nadi is pronounced ‘Nandi’ and Sera’s delicious marinated fish kokoda, is ‘kokonda’. Whenever you see a ‘c’ it is said ‘th’, as in the Mamanuca Islands is pronounced Mamanutha Islands. You put an ‘m’ before the ‘b’ in words like Toberua (Tomberua) and finally you put an ‘n’ before g in words like Sigatoka is ‘Singatoka’.

Some handy words and phrases are:

English

Fijian

Pronunciation

Hello

Ni sa bula

Ni sambula

Good morning

Ni sa yadra

Ni sa yandra

Goodbye

Sa moce

Sa more there

Please

Yalo vinaka

Yarlo veenarka

Thank you

Vinaka

Veenarka

Thank you very much

Vinaka vaka levu

Veenarka varka levoo

Excuse me

Tulou

Too low

Yes

eo

Ee or

No

Sega

Senga