The only place you will see Fijian fire walking as a genuine ceremony is on the island of Beqa in the southern islands. This unique Hindu ritual requires the walkers to observe strict protocol before they can walk barefoot on extremely hot stones, often with a number of small spears pierced through various parts of their body. For the visitor there are a numbers of places where you will catch a performance. You should go to the Cultural Centre at Pacific Harbour where there are several fire walking displays weekly or you can also see them at some of the larger resorts along the Coral Coast in Viti Levu. Most ceremonies are held in the early hours of the morning in the 80 or so small temples which are scattered throughout the area.
An annual festival which takes place in Suva during the first week of August in Suva. It features a variety of events including traditional shows, parades and the renowned Hibiscus Ball. A colourful military ceremony also takes place in Suva during the first week of each month to mark the changing of the guard at the government buildings.
This festival is celebrated all over the country at the end of October or the beginning of November by local Hindus. Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, it involves everybody lighting their homes with oil lamps and candles. The festival is in honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and when the locals get to settle their business affaires, as well as decorating their houses.
Similar to the Hibiscus festival, the Bula Festival is held in Nadi during the middle of July each year. Again you will have an opportunity to see parades with local marching bands and the beauty pageants which many locals regard as the highlight of the festival. I wonder which locals. Nadi is also the horseracing centre of the country and if you can make it to the town for a meet, you are guaranteed a fun filled day as the atmosphere is amazing.
Yaqona is the traditional drink of Fiji and its consumption serves as a ceremonial and social mediator. The ceremonies are performed at all social and cultural events from fund-raisers to weddings and it is a pretty unique experience. Those taking part sit in a circle on the floor facing the tanoa which is a large hand-carved wooden bowl in which the drink is mixed. The then drink the liquid from a half coconut shell while the onlookers chant and clap their hands. Many resorts hold nightly yaquona drinking sessions and it is a really good way to interact with both the locals and the tourists.
New Year’s Day Celebrations
If you plan to be in Fiji around New Years day you are in for a surprise. Instead of the conventional celebrations, the Fijians take it to extremes.
The festivities can last from a week up to a month and generally make it an excellent time to visit the country as there is plenty of entertainment going on in all the major towns.