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About Fijian Culture and Cuisine – Part 1




The culture of Fiji is a combination of:
• Fijian
• Indian
• European
• Chinese
• Tongan
• Rotuman
• Other nationalities

Culture of Fiji would include:
• Culture polity
• Traditions
• Language
• Food
• Costume
• Belief system
• Architecture
• Arts
• Craft
• Music
• Dance
• Sports

Arts and crafts in Fiji

• The arts and crafts of Fiji are a combination of Polynesian and Melanesian heritage which are local to the place.
• Here men’s and women’s crafts are different according to their tradition.

Women’s Crafts
• On Kadavu Island, there is a village of Na lotu.
• This village is popular for its pottery.
• Its making is still governed by strict rituals.
• Nadroga and Rewa are other places that also produce fine pottery.
• Each region is typical to its style in the making of pottery.
• The making of Tapa cloth which is also known as masi is the product made by women.
• This is a cloth that is made out of mulberry tree.
• It comes from the bark of the paper of this tree.
• It is then highlighted and decorated with charcoal.
• They use symbolic motifs and various patterns.
• It is a fashion in modern times.
• The masi bears the makers name.
• Masi are given as gifts on formal occasions.
• The island of Vatuelele which is located on the southern coast of Viti Levu is popular for its masi products.
• Then in the crafts are Fijian mats.
• They are made out of the leaves of the pandanus tree.
The process of preparation includes:
– scraping and boiling the leaves
– drying them in the sun
• On various occasions, different mats are used.
• They imply for the occasion like weddings.
• These mats are bordered with wool which is highly decorative and bright in color.
• Kuta is a popular Fijian mat.
• These mats are made by women in Vanua Levu.
• Bua is quite popular with these mats.
• Weaving using several materials was another craft.
• There are certain weaving aspects that are confined to men.
The different types of weaving include:
– basket weaving
– coconut rope weaving
– coconut leaves weaving

Men’s crafts
• Carving is confined to men of this area.
• Carving is used for items of practical use.
• They have simple shapes and designs.
• Carving was also put into weapons and household items which were used for the home and ceremony.
• At present, carving is practiced for tourism.
• This plays no major role in Fijian society currently.
• In Tanoa it is still used from drinking Kava.

Canoe Building
• This is another craft which is confined to men.
• Canoes were important for communication and part of of Fijian society.
• This was used for gathering food and transporting of crops.
• They were used for presentation ceremonies.
• They were used in wars and politics.
• The art of Canoe building was typical of the place and there are different types with same design.
• Camakau is a canoe which was a small twin hulled canoe.
• It was used for fishing to small transportation purposes.
• Dura canoes were one of the most impressive Canoes in Fiji.
• Canoes were involved in early history of Fiji and seas battles and mighty Drua held the balance in such occasions.
• Drua was double hulled canoe.
• They are of gigantic proportions.
• Drua was a masterpiece which is special of design and craftsmanship.
• It involved whole community in its construction.
• It is a sign of human sacrifice in its launching.
• Its speed out at sea was in excess of twenty knots.
• Even then it still remained highly manoeuvrable.
• It capacity was of carrying upward of 150 warriors.
• About 6 to 7 years it took to build Drua.
• It would vary in length from 100 feet to 118 feet.
• The height of the mast was about 60 to 70 feet.

Performing Arts in Fiji

The Meke
• This is an indigenous art form of Fiji. This incorporated the sea sea which is women’s fan dance.
• A meke wesi is men’s spear dance which was incorporated in the dance.
• It is usually a narrative form of events like:
– War
– A chiefly installation
– Even a scandal
• Some mekes are many generations old.
• Meke was known to be an oracle from the gods.
• Dau ni vucu also known as composer, would often go into a trance before a performance.
• A poet laureate writes a poem in order to celebrate in an event in a Western country.
• Each district of Fiji is known for its own form of meke.
• This is performed in the local dialect.
• Other forms are of Polynesian and Melanesian dance art forms.
• They are dances of Rotuma and Tonga which are widely popular.
• There are also Indian dances and Chinese dances.
• They are performed at relevant festivals.

Best time to visit / climate

• The climate in Fiji is tropical marine and warm most of the year round with minimal extremes.
• The warm season is from November till April.
• The cooler season is May to October.
• Temperature in the cool season still averages 22 °C (72 °F).
• Temperature sensitive visitors may wish to visit during the Southern Hemisphere winter.

Location on Google Maps


View Larger Map

Or click and paste the URL below on your browser:
http://maps.google.co.in/maps?q=Vanua+Levu+&hl=en&sll=-16.780453,179.33044&sspn=0.71394,1.234589&hnear=Vanua+Levu&t=m&z=9

How to get there?

Air
• The Nadi International Airport is situated about 9 km to the north of central Nadi.
• It is the largest Fijian hub.
• Nausori International Airport is located about 23 kms to the northeast of Suva.
• This helps serving mostly domestic traffic.
• Labasa Airport is the main airport in Vanau Levu island.
• It is situated at Waiqele.
• This is to the southwest of Labasa Town.
• The largest aircraft that is known to be handled by Labasa Airport is the ATR42.
• Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) operates 15 public airports in the Fiji Islands.
• These include two international airports.
• Nadi international Airport is the main gateway of Fiji.
• Nausori Airport is Fiji’s domestic hub.
• It is also hub for 13 outer island airports.

Bus
• Fiji’s larger islands are equipped with extensive bus routes.
• They are consistent.
• They are affordable to the common public.
• Buses are the general transport service for the public.
• They form service between the towns on the main islands.
• Rroll-on-roll-off inter-island ferries are also served by buses.
• Bus fares and routes are regulated by the LTA.

Taxi
• Taxis are licensed by the LTA.
• They operator all through the country.
• The prices for regular taxis is F$1.50 and tariff is F$0.10 for every 200 meters.

Ships and inter-island ferries
Inter-island ferries also serve between islands of Fiji.

Some Travel Books about Fiji

Fiji (Country Travel Guide) Fiji (Travel Reference Map) Getting Stoned with Savages

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at sa-venues.com
Hotels at booking.com

Blogs / Sites about Fiji

blogs at traveltoads.com
blogs at en.wikipedia.org
blogs at everyculture.com
blogs and reviews at fijianfoodsafari.com

Images and photos about Fiji

images at everyculture.com
images at traveltoads.com
images at fijianfoodsafari.com
images at google.com

Videos of Fiji

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