FIJI

"Paradise"

Flavoursome Fiji: The Best Cuisine From the South Pacific Island

Fiji is known for its rich indigenous culture and exquisitely beautiful beaches, but this South Pacific island country is less known for its many gratifying and scrumptious foods. Markets in Fiji are jam-packed full of taros, bananas, leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes and the creativity of Fijian cuisine means that the ingredients of the dishes combine to create delightfully balanced flavors and sensations.

Bases


The basic elements of Fijian food consist of sweet potatoes, taro, rice, cassava, coconut and fish, using mostly open fire or underground cooking methods. The migration of Indians to Fiji began around the year 1879. Initially arriving to Fiji as laborers to aid in the sugarcane industry, with their migration came new and exciting ingredients. Over the years and with the natural merging of cultures and integration of local produce, a distinctive style of ‘Fijian-Indo’ cooking has evolved. The heavy influence of the ‘Fijian-Indo’ culture means that the cuisine has elements of colorful curries and spices with it, separating it from fellow neighboring Pacific countries.

CULTURE

Traditions and heriarchy

The culture of Fiji is a tapestry of indigenous Fijian,indican,europeas,chinescas and other nationalities.



Fijian indigenous society is very communal, with great importance attached to the family unit, the village, and the vanua (land). A hierarchy of chiefs presides over villages, clans, and tribes. Chiefly positions are hereditary; a deceased chief is invariably followed by a kinsman or kinswoman, though not necessarily his own son or daughter. This reflects polynesian influence: in most other Melanesian societies, chiefs are appointed on merit.

The largest social unit for Fijians is the yavusa, defined by Derrick as the "direct agnate descendants of a single kalou-vu" (deified ancestor). Chiefly succession was from older brother/sister to younger brother/sister, after the death of their father/mother. When the youngest brother/sister died, the eldest son/daughter of the eldest brother/sister became chief. This tradition still influences Fijian society today, though less rigidly: there is more of a tendency nowadays towards Primogeniture.

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CAPITAL

Suva is the capital of the South Pacific island nation of Fiji. It's a city of broad avenues, lush parks and grand British colonial buildings such as the Suva City Library. Suva's colorful, lively Municipal Market offers a vast range of local fruit and vegetables. Fiji Museum, set within the Victorian-era Thurston Gardens, contains traditional canoes, war clubs and tattooing tools.

LANGUAGE

Fijian (Vakaviti)

According the 1997 constituion, Fijian is an official language of Fiji, along with English and Hindustani.David Cargill (1809-1843), a scottish missionary and pioneer in the study of the Fijian Language, devised a way of writing Fijian with the Latin alphabet based on the Ba'u (Bauan) dialect. He came up with several spelling systems, noted the reactions of the Fijians to them and abandoned the ones that didn't work. At first he represented sounds like /mb/ and /nd/ with two letters: mb and nd, but the Fijians read these as two separate sounds. Eventually he hit upon a spelling system that made sense to the Fijians and which has been in use ever since.

TRADITIONS & FESTIVALS

January


New Years Day Celebrations can continue for a week, or even a month, in some areas of Fiji as the islanders ring in the New Year.

March

Ram Naumi
This Hindu celebration of the birth of Lord Ram brings a buzz of activity to the Hindu temples and homes of Fiji.

Easter

This major Christian festival is celebrated with the usual ceremony by the local Fijian Christians.

February

Holi Also known as the Hindu Festival of Colours, this annual event is celebrated throughout the main towns of Fiji with parades, music and dancing.

May & July

Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day
This day honours the former high chief and scholar who was considered Fiji’s greatest statesman. Cultural shows and games mark this highly regarded public holiday.

Bula Festival Nadi’s main festival includes parades and beauty pageants to help celebrate their unique identity as a town. Nadi is known for its horseracing.

Constitution Day
This public holiday honours the day when Fiji first adopted its constitution.

Prophet Mohammed’s birthday
Muslims in Fiji mark this special day with ceremonies and celebrations at the mosques and private homes around the islands.

April

Fiji Jazz Festival
This three day jazz festival is held at the Sonaisali Resort, attracting a number of internationally known jazz musicians to the islands.

Landforms

    Most of Fiji's mountains are dormant or extinct volcanoes. Mount Tomanivi, located on the main island of Viti Levu, is the highest point at 4,341 feet (1,324 m), and the lowest point is the Pacific Ocean (0 m).

THINGS TO DO

FIJI FLAG

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IMPORTANT CITIES



Nadi#1 most popular location

Nadi, located on the western side of Viti Levu, is the third largest urban centre in Fiji. It is also the site of the main international airport and has the largest number of hotels and motel…


Suva#2 most popular location

Suva is the capital of Fiji. It is like any "big" city: busy, lots of traffic, McDonald's (haha). I think many tourists don't even go to this side of Viti Levu, but there is actually lots to


Sigatoka#3 most popular location

Sigatoka is a town in about 70 kilometers from Nadi, on Viti Levu. An ornate temple, open to public, built by Hare Krishna devotees dominates the Sigatoka skyline. Major tourist attractions

NATIVES

Fijian people are the major indigenous people of the Fiji Islands, and live in an area informally called Melanesia. The Fijian people are believed to have arrived in Fiji from western Melanesia approximately 3,500 years ago, though the exact origins of the Fijian people are unknown. Later they would move onward to other surrounding islands including Rotuma, as well as blending with other (Polynesian) settlers on Tonga and Samoa. They are indigenous to all parts of Fiji except the island of Rotuma. The original settlers are now called "Lapita people" after a distinctive pottery produced locally. Lapita pottery was found in the area from 800 BC onward.

As of 2005, Fijians constituted slightly more than half of the Fijian population. Indigenous Fijians are predominantly of Melanesian extraction, with some Polynesian admixture. Other ethnic groups in Fiji include Indo-Fijians, the Rotuman people, and minority communities, which include Caucasians, Chinese, and other Pacific Islanders.

New Zealand has a large Fijian population, according to the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs. In 2001, Fijian people were the fifth largest Pacific ethnic group living in New Zealand. There was a decrease of 8 percent between 1996 and 2001. The estimated Pacific Islander population size is 231,800 in 2001 Fijians comprising about 7,000 of that.

The Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs) once passed laws and regulations governing the Fijian people. Today, the Great Council of Chiefs meets yearly to discuss Fijian concerns. The council is responsible for appointing the Fijian president. The council is made up of 55 chiefs selected from the 14 provinces. Included in the council are three appointees from the island of Rotuma and six appointed by the Minister of Fijian Affairs. The Minister of Fijian Affairs consults with the Fijian president as part of the selection process. Finally, former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka serves a lifetime appointment on the council.

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