As one of the most multicultural and multiracial nations on earth, the Republic of Fiji is made up of a diverse group of people that subscribe to different religions. Fiji has a varied religious landscape; however, Christianity is by far the most practiced religion in all the islands, followed by Hinduism and Islam. While a large number of indigenous Fijians mainly practice Christianity, most of the people that have Asian ancestry are Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. The country is well known for its religious festivals and it observes many special holidays that are celebrated in many parts of the country.
Main Religions in Fiji
Christianity in Fiji was first introduced to the Fijian people by early missionaries in the late 19 century. Today there are many different Christian churches that are accepted and practiced next to each other. However, Methodism is the most popular and has by far the greatest number of followers. Various forms of Hinduisms were introduced to the islands with the arrival of Indian laborers that arrived to work in the sugarcane farms; today, Hinduism is the second largest most practiced religion in Fiji.
The history of Fijian religion
Before the 19th century, the indigenous Fijian communities practiced different traditional religions. When the Europeans started to arrive years later, the religious landscape of the country started to shift, and Christianity slowly started to become popular with the masses. The conversion of Fijian tribal chiefs is what helped Christianity to spread, however, the colonization of the islands is what led to further change. As the missionaries introduced Christianity into the different regions, other religions also started to take shape after they were introduced by Indian laborers that came into the country to work in Fiji’s sugarcane plantation.
The indigenous beliefs of the ancient people of Fiji
The native beliefs of the original Fijians to settle in the islands were characterized by animism and shamanism. As such, life after death, spirit worship, worship of natural objects and phenomena, superstitious beliefs, the importance of myths and legends, as well as rituals all helped to define traditional religion in Fiji. Before the arrival of Europeans and before colonization occurred, such beliefs helped to govern every aspect of social and political life.
Freedom of worship in Fiji
Traditional laws governed how people practiced religion back in the day. After the British arrived in Fiji, the laws instituted and created by the British government dictated the religious rights of the people of Fiji. Today, the constitution upholds and protects the rights of people to worship, meaning that the locals can practice any religion that they wish to. This also means that the government can terminate a person’s right to worship if it threatens other people’s freedoms.