Bula!, a word you hear many times a day in Fiji, means “hello” and is always pronounced with a smile.
The Island Nation of Fiji is located in the South Pacific and consisted a total of 330 Islands and 2/3 of which are uninhabited. Blessed with palm fringed white sandy beaches surrounded by azure blue waters.
Fiji is known to be the Hub of the South pacific and developed into a premier travel destination that boasts of a unique cultural heritage and sights. Moreover, it has been a curious melting pot of cultures as varied as Melanesian, Ploynesian, Indian and British colonial throughout history.
The group of islands stans today as one of the most beautiful and exotic places on earth.
Fiji covers a total area of some 194,000 square kilometres (75,000 sq mi) of which around 10% is land.
Fiji is the hub of the South West Pacific, midway between Vanuatu and Tonga. The archipelago is located between 176° 53′ east and 178° 12′ west. The 180° meridian runs through Taveuni but the International Date Line is bent to give uniform time (UTC+12) to all of the Fiji group. With the exception of Rotuma, the Fiji group lies between 15° 42′ and 20° 02′ south. Rotuma is located 220 nautical miles (410 km; 250 mi) north of the group, 360 nautical miles (670 km; 410 mi) from Suva, 12° 30′ south of the equator.
Fiji consists of 332 islands (of which 106 are inhabited) and 522 smaller islets. The two most important islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which account for about three-quarters of the total land area of the country. The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,324 metres (4,341 ft), and covered with thick tropical forests.
Politics in Fiji normally take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic wherein the Prime Minister of Fiji is the head of government and the President the Head of State, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government, legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Fiji, and the judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The Fijian economy is largely agricultural, and the main cash crop and export is sugar cane. Tourism is the largest foreign-exchange earner and clothing exports grew rapidly from the late 1980s. Other significant activities are gold-mining, fishing and timber production.
One of the reasons for Fiji’s popularity as a holiday destination is the beautiful climate of this region. Temperatures are always between 26 to 31 degrees with the favoured time of year for travel from around April to October, those being the cooler months. There is always a cool tropical breeze and the water temperatures are always perfect. The wet season occurs from December to March and can bring heavy rain. Tropical cyclones have also been common in recent years around this time. Visit our Fiji Weather page for more details.
The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermic activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC and was settled first by Austronesians and later by Melanesians, with some Polynesian influences. Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century, and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874.
Fiji became an independent sovereign state on 10th October 1970 when its colonial status was abrogated.
Fiji Culture, Religion
and the Fijian Language
The Fijians are pretty easy-going, but if you are invited into a village, wear modest clothing and take off your hat (wearing one is an insult to the chief) when in the village. Leave your shoes outside the door when entering a home and keep in mind that it’s also insulting to touch someone’s head – which can be tempting when you are surrounded by wide-eyed, smiling children.
Fijians are the friendliest people in the world. Your respect for their customs and traditions will not only make you a welcome guest in their villages and homes, but add another dimension to your Fijian holiday. For the lovo, meke and yaqona (kava) ceremonies.
Cultural Ceremonies, The LOVO
This is a magnificent feast, cooked in the earth. It’s like a barbeque, only a little more smoked, and a very efficient way to cook large quantities of food at the same time. To make your own you’ll need;
Music is woven into the fabric of Fiji and the Meke embraces traditional song and dance to tell of legends, love stories, history and spirits of the islands. It can vary from a blood-curdling spear dance to a gentle and graceful fan dance.
Yaqona (pronounced yangona) is Fiji’s national drink. It’s made from the pulverised root of a member of the pepper family. It’s believed to have medicinal qualities (apart from making you feel mellow).
Legend has it that the ceremony came from Tonga where the plant sprang from the grave of a Tongan princess who died of a broken heart. In a formal yaqona ceremony authority is given by the village spokesman to begin mixing the kava.
A multi-racial, multi-cultural nation, the population of Fiji is made up of significant numbers of followers of all major religions.
Visitors will find Christian churches, mosques, and Sikh and Hindu temples throughout the country. Visitors are more than welcome to join the locals for Sunday worship and it’s highly recommended, even if you’re not that religious.
One of the great things about this Pacific paradise is that everyone speaks English as well as Fijian or Hindi – although there are a few idiosyncrasies.
Any word with a ‘d’ has an unwritten ‘n’ in front of it – Nadi is pronounced ‘Nandi’ and the delightful cold, marinated seafood dish kokoda, is ‘kokonda’. You put an ‘m’ before the ‘b’ in words like Toberua (Tomberua). Sigatoka is ‘Singatoka’, Naigani is Ninegani’. And a ‘c’ is pronounced ‘th’, as in the Mamanuca Islands.