There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|Late March/early April||National Youth Day|
|1st Monday in June||Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day|
|Monday around June 14||Queen’s birthday|
|August September||Birth of Lord Krishna|
|the beginning of October||Independence day|
|December 26||Boxing day, Christmas Day|
Source: Countryaah – Fiji Holidays
|Date||Type of festival|
|July||Bula, a festival in Nadi|
|August||Hibiscus Festival in Suva|
|September||Sugar Festival in Lautoka|
|the beginning of October||Back-to-Lekuva Festival|
|October/November, at the time of the last quarter of the moon||Harvest Festival|
The Balolo festival is celebrated like in Samoa. You can attend the festival on the southeast coast of Ovalau. The Balolo worm, which can be up to 45 cm long, rises to the surface of the water before sunrise. The red-brown males and moss-green females spray their sperm and eggs on the surface of the water.
|June||International Bula Marathon|
|end of June||President’s Club yacht racing|
Fiji Islands: climate, handicrafts
Fiji’s climate is tropical. However, it is tempered by southeast winds in the months of May to September.
The average rainfall is 2,360 mm per year, on the northern islands even 4,000 mm.
December to March is the season of cyclones and typhoons. Cyclones occasionally occur as early as November. The later the storms start in the season, the more pronounced they are. By the way, climate is understood to mean long-term developments, while the weather describes current or short-term developments.
The best time to travel to Fiji in terms of climate is around April/May to October. The months of November and December are warm, but not too hot. From January to March it is relatively hot and often rainy and humid, and there is also a risk of cyclones. However, because of the off-season, this time is a good opportunity for inexpensive deals.
The following table shows a range of climate data for the country. It should be noted, however, that the climatic conditions on the various islands in the country can differ considerably from one another and thus also from the values shown. In addition, such monthly temperature averages say little about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 30 °C to reach maximum values of 40 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
National customs and handicrafts
Hair accessories, hairstyles
In Fiji, traditional emphasis was placed on complicated hairstyles. The production was quite complex, could take days and was only allowed to be carried out by certain people who were allowed to touch the chief. In order not to destroy the hairstyles, there were wooden headrests on which the head could be rested.
Fire walking There are two types of fire dancing practiced in Fiji. The one who traces back to Fiji traditions and the one who came to Fiji with the Indians.
Fiji’s fire running
The fire dance is practiced on Beqa Island. “Vilavilarevo” means “to hop in the oven”. The dancers walk barefoot over hot stones. The preparations keep a village busy for about a month.
In addition to collecting firewood and suitable stones, certain rituals must be performed. The fire dancers are not allowed to eat coconuts or have sex in the month before the event. Your wives must not be pregnant.
According to legend, a chief was given the ability to walk over fire by the gods. The descendants of this chief are today the priests who pass this skill on.
Fire dance of the Hindus
In July or August, during the full moon, the fire dance is practiced during a 10-day religious festival in the Hindu temples.
The preparation of the festival takes about 10 days and is carried out by priests. During this time, the fire walkers are not allowed to have sex or eat meat and must devote themselves to meditation and worship of the god Maha Devi.
On the 10th day, the “day of the fire dance”, the dancers are washed in the sea, their tongues and cheeks are pierced by the priests. Then the runners dance in a trance and towards the fire pits. The fire dance is mainly practiced by southern Indians.
It symbolizes life, which is like walking on fire and can be mastered through self-discipline.
Fiji was known as cannibal island at the time of the discovery of the Pacific.
The rite of eating the enemy meant absolute vengeance. It is said that the chief Ra Udreudre in Viti Levu is said to have eaten up to 852 people. Human flesh was prepared in the earth oven. To do this, the meat was wrapped in the leaves of the Solanum uporo plant.
Special wooden forks were used to eat human flesh, as it was considered unclean if the hands or lips came into contact with the meat.
In Fiji, cannibalism was not just religious or ritual; human flesh was a normal part of the menu.
Kava in Fiji as Yaqona
The kava ceremony is cultivated in the entire Pacific culture and held according to strict rules. The kava drink is made by chewing the kava root soft and then diluting it with water. It looks like washing-up water and numbs the mouth like a light syringe at the dentist’s.
The mixture is filtered with the help of coconut fibers and then served in half a coconut shell.
Kava is a pepper plant. It was used in the pharmaceutical industry as an antidepressant and anti-hypertensive agent. Demand was correspondingly high until the end of the 1990s. A German study showed that the consumption of kava can lead to liver damage. As a result, the active ingredient was largely withdrawn from the market. The study was later questioned because most of the subjects had also taken other drugs and the negative effect on the liver did not necessarily have to come from the kava.
In Fiji, kava drinking was previously only reserved for chiefs, elderly men and priests who drank the drink with straws as they were not allowed to touch it. It was part of religious ceremonies that were fiercely opposed by the missionaries. As in Tonga, the drink has been drunk from half a coconut shell since the late 19th century.
Nowadays, kava is consumed as a social drink. You sit cross-legged around the kava bowl. Women take a seat in the second row and have to wait until they are offered a drink.
Traditional dances are the Tralala, the Meke and the Vakamolo. Generally speaking, the dances in Fiji are reminiscent of the islands’ warlike past.
Fiji belongs to the only group of islands in the Polynesian region whose culture has produced masks. These were called Matavulo masks.
The bêche-de-mer is a sea cucumber that lies in shallow water and is easy to harvest. The sea cucumber is and was a delicacy and an aphrodisiac for the Chinese. It used to be and is still an important commodity today.
Tabua’s sperm teeth
are highly valued because it is believed that the spirit of the ancestors resides in them. The whale teeth were often given as gifts. In the past, taboos were very rare, as they either came from washed up sperm whales or could be obtained through barter with Tonga. With the Europeans, who used the sperm’s teeth as a medium of exchange, these were played into the hands of certain chiefs, whose power expanded accordingly.
Carved guard figures
from the roots of the balabala tree
Bark fiber, called “masi kesa” in Fiji. There is no weaving mill on almost all of the Pacific Islands, except the Caroline Islands and Santa Cruz Islands. The fabrics were and are made from the mulberry tree using bark. This is first soaked and then tapped until the pieces have reached a multiple of their original size. Individual pieces are joined together by felting. This is how long fabrics are made. In Samoa and Tonga, these lengths can reach several hundred meters. The tapas are rolled up and then given on special occasions. The motifs are painted on using stencils or matrices. Each archipelago has its own individual pattern. Fiji’s patterns are known for their geometric shapes. The colors red and black are used for painting. The red dye is made from clay, the black dye is obtained by burning “Candlenut”.
The art of pottery, also known as Lapita pottery, has survived in Fiji, unlike the neighboring islands of eastern Polynesian.
The Lapita culture
takes its name from an archaeological excavation site near Koné on the main island. It was characterized by pottery with special patterns. With the help of these pottery finds, migrations of ethnic groups in the Pacific region can be determined and dated. The Lapita culture spread from New Caledonia to the entire western Polynesian culture and disappeared around 300 AD. The Lapita people were Austronesians who possessed great seafaring skills and were extremely mobile.
Fiji Islands: Sightseeing
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that FJ stands for the nation of Fiji as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Since June 2013 there has been a UNESO World Heritage Site on the Fiji Islands.
Old town of Levuka
Levuka is located on the island of Ovalau and has about 4,500 residents. The city is the administrative seat of the Lomaiviti Province and the capital of the Eastern Division. The Eastern Division is one of the four administrative units of the island state and consists of the provinces of Kadavu, Lau and Lomaiviti. Until 1882 Levuka was the capital of the British crown colony of Fiji. Around the year 1820, the former small settlement by white settlers became a “modern” city with an important port for the region. In 1858 a mission station of the Society of Mary (Marists) was founded here
After the founding of the state in 1871, Levuka Seru Epenisa Cakobau (Thamkombau) was crowned king (Tui Viti). But in 1874 Britain annexed Fiji as a colony with Levuka as its capital. Levuka officially remained the country’s capital until 1882, although the administration had already been moved to Suva – today’s capital – in 1877.
The importance of the port of Luveka declined significantly at the end of the 1950s. But since a Fijian-Japanese company was founded in Levuka in 1964, the economic decline has been halted. The company processes fish, especially tuna, most of which is then exported. Cruise ships that anchor here from time to time also bring some money into the city.
The city was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2013 as “an outstanding example of a Pacific port city from the late 19th century”
Major cities in the Fiji Islands
Suva has around 85,000 residents and is the largest city and capital of the country. Suva is located in the southeast of the island of Viti Levu. Suva is the country’s political center.
Lautoka has a population of around 55,000, making it the second largest city in the Fiji Islands. The city is located in the northwest of the island of Viti Levu about 30 km from Nadi.
Nadi is the third largest city in the Fiji Islands with around 45,000 residents. Nadi is located in the west of the island of Viti Levu. The area around Nadi has the highest density of hotels in Fiji. Not far from the city is the Nadi International Airport with which most visitors reach the island.
Nausori has about 40,000 residents, making it the fourth largest city on the Fiji Islands. The city is located in the southeast of the island of Viti Levu about 20 km from Suva.
The Government House in Suva was built in 1882. At first it served as the official residence of the governor and after the independence of the Fiji Islands as the official residence of the president.
Bure, men’s houses
They consist of woven walls, sometimes with colored patterns and thatched roofs. The higher the rank of the resident of the house, the higher the stone pedestal on which it stands. The connections of the supporting structure are made using coconut fibers. A brown and a red cord are woven around the wooden parts to be connected in such a way that multi-dimensional patterns are created.
Vale, family houses
They are constructed like Bure, but not as big.
The village consists of houses that are all thatched, according to a joint decision of the villagers.
Museums, galleries and libraries
The Fiji Museum in Suva on Vitu Levu was founded in 1904, making it one of the oldest museums in the South Pacific. The museum is located in the Botanical Gardens (Thurston Gardens). Lapita pottery, ships, cannibal forks and tapa (bark fiber) are exhibited.
Suva City Library
The library, which is also known as the Carnegie Library, was built in 1909 in the colonial style.
Levuka Town Coucil
The Levuka Town Coucil was built in 1898 on the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.
Taveuni Hill Fort
This fort was built around 1800 by the Tongan chief Maile Latamai on a hill on the Sigatoka River.
Churches and temples
The Weselan Church, an impressive wooden church that was built in 1924, in Vuna on the island of Ovalau.
Sacred Heart Church/Levuka
Sri Siva Subramaniya/Nadi
The temple is located in Nadi at the southern end of the main road. This is the largest Hindu temple in the entire southern hemisphere. The temple is particularly impressive because of its splendor of colors.
Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple
The Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple in Lautoka, built in 1978, impresses with its unusual architecture and splendor of colors. It should be mentioned that Fiji has the highest percentage of Hare Krishna followers per capita in the world. This temple is the most important temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in the South Pacific.
Suva Municipal Market
Practically all tropical fruits can be bought at this market in Suva.
Nadi Town Market
This market in Nadi features ornate items, tropical fruits, music and more.
University of Fiji
The University of Fiji was founded in 2004 in Saweni, Lautoka.
University of the South Pacific
The University of the South Pacific was founded in 1968. Due to the geography of the South Pacific states, the university is spread over many locations. The University of the South Pacific is funded by 12 states, these are:
- Cook Islands
- Fiji Islands
- Marshal Islands
- Solomon Islands
The main campus of the university is in Suva. A total of around 16,000 students are currently studying at all branches. The University of the South Pacific offers the following degree programs:
- Agricultural Sciences
- Computer science
- Social sciences
- environmental Protection
Other universities on the Fischi Islands are: Fiji Scholl of Medicine (in Suva and Lautoka) and the Fiji Institute of Technology (Suva, Nadi, Labasa, Ba)
The Thurston Gardens was opened in 1882, but at that time still under the name Suva Botanical Gardens. The gardens are named after the former governor Sir John Thurston. In the gardens you can marvel at the flora of the entire South Pacific region.
Botanical Garden The Lautoka Botanical Garden houses mostly tropical plants.
Bouma National Heritage Park
The Bouma National Heritage Park is located on the island of Taveuni and is a rainforest park with three waterfalls and various hiking trails by the sea.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon, located on the Yasawa Islands, became famous for the film of the same name.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes (Sigatoka Sand Dunes)
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes, located at the mouth of the Sigatoka River on Viti Levu, are an impressive dune formation with an area of 6.5 km². The dunes are between 20 and 60 m high. The Sigatoka sand dunes were proposed for the UNESCO World Heritage List back in 1999, but they are not yet included at this point in time. Archaeological excavations reveal evidence of human habitation at least 2,600 years ago.
Kula Eco Park
The Kula Eco Park was designed as a bird sanctuary in the 1980s. In 1997 it was bought by Kula Eco Park Management and made available to tourists as a park. The park now serves as a sanctuary for the native flora and fauna.
Wailoaloa Beach is a sandy beach with huts, hotels and restaurants and is located near the city of Nadi on the 10,530 km² main island of Fiji
Newtown Beach is also a sandy beach and is also located near Nadi and is particularly popular with backpackers
Surfing is traditionally one of the fun things to do in Fiji.
Diving and Snorkeling
Fiji has plenty of developed and undeveloped diving spots.