We’ve all heard about the immaculate sand banks and glistening turquoise seas encasing Fiji, but beneath its glossy exterior these tribal lands are a tapestry of fascinating culture and age-old traditions.
When you find yourself dived out, beached out, or just craving some culture on your Fiji holiday, delve into the depths of its rippling mountain landscape to unveil tiny villages interlaced with history, home to some of the world’s warmest communities.
Fiji’s iconic welcome ceremonies are imbued with ancient rituals and traditions, and are a customary practice for any new visitor entering a village. While the ceremony involves a frenzy of food, drink, music and dancing, the yaqona (kava root) is the key player in this ritual. Traditionally, the root is presented from the visitor (this can be bought from any local market) to the village chief, who passes it on to be ground, strained and shared as a communal drink. This of course comes with its own set of rituals; upon receiving the kava, clap once, yell Bula! drink in one gulp, clap three times, and say Mathe. Got that?
Now let the party begin!
Referred to as the Nakabuta pottery village, this tiny settlement in the Sigatoka Valley is home to a creative community who spend their days demonstrating the art of their culture. Watch the local ladies moulding pots, plates and bowls, and partake in a pottery workshop to learn their craft. All of their creations are sold in various handicraft shops across the village – that’s your holiday gifts sorted. You’ll also discover historic sites en route to Nakabuta, where old pottery shards and human skeletal remains have been excavated and preserved.
Overdose on Fijian culture and history on ‘the island of the fire dancers’. Robinson Crusoe Island sits off the southwest coast of Fiji's main Viti Levu Island and was originally restricted as a sacred island. Discover 3,500 years worth of history here; learn basket weaving, make coconut jewellery, feast on authentic cuisine, learn about traditional island medicine, and watch the spectacular dance shows featuring some of Fiji's best fire and knife performers.
Step back in time at Navala Village, considered Fiji’s most traditional settlement. Located among the picturesque hillsides lining the Ba River, this small 200 year-old village houses a collection of traditional thatched ‘bures’, or huts, that are lived in by a small community of around 1000 people. Experience a traditional kava welcome ceremony upon arrival, and take a tour of the village and school, mingling with friendly locals who will tale you the tales of this historic village.