Religion in Fiji

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.

Sports in Fiji – Rugby is Fiji´s National Sport

If you are a lover of sports, Fiji is an entirely different kind of paradise because whether you are interested in participating or simply watching local sports, there is no shortage of sports to see and play. When you think of sports in Fiji, the very first things that come to mind is Rugby. In Fiji, Rugby, particularly 7s rugby, is followed by the locals with a fervent adoration that is unlike anything that you have ever seen in any part of the world. As such, Rugby is the national sport of Fiji although other sports such as football are played widely and popularly.

Sports in Fiji

The sports culture in Fiji is as diverse as the people themselves; however, the beauty of it all is that people often put their racial and cultural differences aside for a common interest. Numerous sports are played all over Fiji, each with their own cult following. Popularly played sports in Fiji include:

Golf

Golf is played widely in many resorts and country clubs in the country. Golf in Fiji was made popular by Fiji athlete Vijay Singh. Golf fans are never disappointed when they come to Fiji because the islands have some of the most pristine golf courses that offer magnificent views of the lagoons, rainforests, and oceans. There is an abundance of courses to choose from and various tournaments to experience on your trip.

Soccer

Soccer has grown in reputation in Fiji and can, in fact, be considered the second most followed sport in Fiji. If you love and appreciate soccer, you are in luck because Fiji has a competitive soccer league that is made up of 23 clubs. Locals follow both local and international soccer faithfully with the national soccer team taking part in international competitions such as the FIFA qualifying rounds of the World Cup.

Watersports

Water-related sports such as surfing and sailing are also popular. Surfing is a popular sport in Fiji, owing to the presence of the ocean. Surfing was popularized in the country by Tony Philips.

Netball

Netball is also played regularly in Fiji. The country started off with a women’s netball team, however, the sport has grown to also include a men’s team. Netball has a dedicated fan base as well having been ranked 7th internationally.

Rugby

Rugby is by far the most celebrated of all sports in Fiji, and it is almost met with a level of religious fanaticism. Rugby forms an intricate component of Fijian culture because you cannot drive anywhere without seeing locals playing or practicing in the fields. There are over 80,000 registered players in Fiji, which makes up almost 10 percent of the Fiji population.

Hockey

In the 1970s and the 1980s, Hockey was a very dominant sport and highly popular in Fiji. Stadiums filed up very quickly on the weekends as everybody wanted to see the matches.  Still a popular sport, for some reason it has not seen growth as the other sports have, even the Fiji Team is still quite strong and internationally successful.

What language is spoken in Fiji?

One of the very first things that visitors have to consider before traveling to any country is the languages that are spoken in that country. When the first inhabitants arrived in Fiji thousands of years ago, they brought with them a language that has splintered over the years to form a multitude of different community dialects that total to more than 300. This is because the language evolved as more people migrated to the various islands. Additional input from recent immigrants from the other islands situated in the west has also helped to shape Fiji language today.

What language is spoken in Fiji?

There are many languages spoken by the multicultural people that live in Fiji. The majority of the Fijians speak Fijian, while the Indians mainly communicate in Hindi and Urdu, Rotumans speak Rotuman and nearly all islands have their own dialect of the Fijian language. But overall people mainly communicate with each other in English, which is the main medium of instruction in schools and the official business language.

The official language of Fiji

Fiji has three main languages that are spoken officially, English, Hindustani and Fijian.
Fijian is categorized as Austronesian, which means that it is a mix of thousands of other languages that are spoken in other parts of the globe. Mainly, the Fijian language is mainly influenced by the Melanesian and Polynesian cultures, however, it sounds similar to what you would hear people from Hawaii speaking.

The type of Fijian that is spoken prevalently today is called Bauan, which was named after the tiny island of Bau, which is where the dialect originated. More than half of the population speaks Fijian, however, Hindi and English are also spoken. Please note that the Hindi that is spoken in Fiji is very different from the one that is spoken by people in India.

When traveling to Fiji, you can communicate easily through English because English is considered as the national language of the islands. English can be heard on the radio, TV and can be read in the newspapers; therefore, you should feel safe and free to communicate if you can speak English.

Speaking and understanding the Fiji language

The Fiji language can be a little difficult to understand but nothing is impossible with a little bit of practice. A little knowledge of the local language might help you to navigate the expansive islands, if for no other reason other than learning how to pronounce some of the complicated locations. Some common Fijian words to know are:

Some common Fijian words to know are:

Bula – hello, cheers, good day, or welcome.
Vinaka – thank you.
Kava – ask for this national drink, if you are old enough.
Meke – traditional dance in Fiji, usually those dances tell a story
Viti -this means Fiji in the Fijian language

History of the Fiji Islands

For you to fully appreciate all that Fiji has to offer, it is important to understand Fiji’s long and interesting history. According to Fiji legend, Fijians found their way to the archipelago after the great chief Lutunasobasoba led them across the seas to the new land.

The history of Fiji

Most history experts agree that the Fijian people came into Fiji from the Southeastern parts of Asia through the Malay Peninsula. During the migration, the Melanesians and the Polynesians intermarried to create the highly developed and functional society which existed before the Europeans arrived. The earliest people in Fiji practiced animal husbandry, agriculture, and fishing.

The pre-European Fiji society

This society was extremely evolved and even had its own system of government and a functional stratified society. The communities and societies were interconnected through trade; items such as mats, pots and various arts and crafts were traded throughout the Fiji islands including Tonga. All through the pre-European Fiji society, community values and family helped to unify the different communities.

Early European settlement

Early explorers did not start arriving in Fiji until the discovery of sandalwood and the growth of the sea cucumber trade. The first European explorer to spot the Fiji islands was Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman. For a long time after the first Europeans settled in the islands, Fiji became a British crown protectorate in 1874, and it was not until the 1960s that the development towards independence begun.

After independence, Fiji struggled to stabilize the politics particularly because of the absence of a constitutional agreement which would not be acquired until 1971. On April 1972, Fiji finally conducted its first post-independence election that saw Ratu Mara’s Alliance Party win. Fiji’s international standing improved greatly after Ratu Mara and the party entered into government, however, Fiji’s politics was shattered once again when Lt. Col Sitiveni Rabuka staged a bloodless coup that overthrew the government that had been in power since independence.

Timoci Bavadra was elected as president after the coup, however, the tense political climate continued, which saw Fiji elected a few presidents after that. It was not until fresh elections were held in 2001 under the constitution that Fiji’s politics finally stabilized. Although Fiji has experienced years of ethnic and political tension, it has always been a safe destination of choice for many people across the world.

Fiji today

Fiji is still popular with tourists from all corners of the world. A holiday in Fiji can take any form that you prefer, however, while in Fiji, your experience will be enriched if you take time out to understand the difficult, but wonderful history of the country.

What to eat in Fiji? Traditional and popular food in Fiji.

Fiji is famed all across the world for its vibrant indigenous culture, the stunning beaches and the wonderful weather which allows you to participate in a range of different activities. But perhaps one of the best things about visiting Fiji is the chance to enjoy Fijian cuisine. Experiencing Fiji cuisine is like buying your first car because of the wealth of fresh produce available, which results in a truly diverse and fascinating cuisine.

Fiji offers visitors a range of local, as well as international culinary delights; traditional Fiji cuisine is made up of primary ingredients such as sweet potatoes, bananas, coconut, fish and fresh veggies. Although all the ingredients help to make Fiji cuisine distinct, it is the amazing amalgamation of various flavors that help to make Fiji cuisine impressive.

What is Fijian food made up of?
With cultural influences from China, Britain, South Asian countries and India, Fiji cuisine is a delightful fusion of a little bit of everything, which means that you cannot go wrong with Fiji food. The Fiji cuisine is characterized by:

Fresh seafood

The endless seafood choices in Fiji are enough to turn anyone into a seafood lover. The wonderful offerings available come from the beautiful lagoons, as well as from the Pacific Ocean. Your selection here is varied to include lobsters, Cray, crab, sea cucumber, prawns, octopus, tuna, parrot fish, Mahi-mahi, and so much more, all of which are caught fresh daily.

Local farming

Agriculture in Fiji is very important and if you want to experience an authentic farm to table eating experience, Fiji would be the best place to do it. Most of the produce is harvested and is free from commercial farming methods which insist on the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers.

Foods that you must absolutely try in Fiji

Kokoda
This dish is made from fresh fish that has been marinated in freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh coconut cream, tomatoes, spring onions and a range of spices. Kokoda is typically served in half a coconut shell and sometimes in a clamshell.

Lovo, earth oven
This is one of Fiji’s signature dishes that is commonly found in special occasions. A Lovo meal is made from a mix of veggies, and different meats such as chicken, beef, and lamb. Traditionally all this is wrapped in leaves and cooked in a pit on white-hot. Lovo food has a distinct taste, a bit a smoky flavor with a hint of barbecue taste.

Kava
Kava is a must try while you are in Fiji. Kava is a drink that is made from the Yagona plant, and it is generally served in a coconut shell. Kava can be a nice way to start your adventure in Fiji.

 

Where are the Fji Islands?

The Fiji islands are situated south west of the Pacific Ocean  and they are renowned in many parts of the world for their beautiful warm climate, unique and relaxed island atmosphere and the stunning beaches. Indeed, the Fiji Islands are one of the most visited islands on earth not just because you get to experience a vacation of a lifetime, but also because of the wide-ranging geography and landscape.

In total, Fiji is made up of over 320 islands, many of which still remain uninhabited even today; of the 332 islands, 106 remain uninhabited. As such, Fiji is blessed with an abundance of islands that have plenty to do and see. Whether you are interested in finding a decadent resort of a backpacking adventure, the Fiji islands have it all, so much so that you will be spoilt for choice. The main Fiji islands include:

The Fiji islands destinations include:

Vitu Levu
Vitu Levu serves as the international gateway to many of the Fijian islands owing to the Nadi international airport. It is the largest of all Fiji islands and is the site of the nation’s capital city, Suva. As such, Vitu Levu hosts the largest population of the island and has access to a number of activities that make it easier to enjoy yourself while on holiday. If you are interested in experiencing Melanesian life firsthand, a trip to the capital Suva is worth including in your itinerary.

Denarau Island
Denarau Island is perfect if you are looking for a community feel, fun, and intense social interaction. The island is located just off the main island of Viti Levu and is only 5 km away from Nadi city, which is closely situated next to an airport and big name hotels and resorts such as Sheraton and the Hilton. Denarau Island is joined to the mainland via a small causeway which makes it possible to move around to the Yasawa or the Mamanuca islands.

Vanua Levu
This island was formerly known as Sandalwood Island and is the second largest island in Fiji. Vanua Levu is characterized by lowlands of coconut and sugarcane plantations and high waterfalls. Outside the main city centers, the periphery of the town is characterized by miles of unoccupied beaches, some of which have resorts, traditional villages, and miles of jungle waiting to be explored.

Yasawa Islands
Yasawa Islands are remote, but they are accessible, which is part of what makes the islands so appealing. Yasawa Islands are situated northwest of Viti Levu and they feature a wide array of affordable accommodation options to suit every budget. There are no banks or shopping malls in the Yasawa Islands; however, you will not run out of outdoor activities to take part in.

Dive Fiji

Bula! Welcome to diving the Fiji Islands.

Fiji Diving is about diversity, mainly famous as the Soft Coral Capital. But this does not even come close to describe the ultimate dive adventures the Fiji Islands have to offer.

From the smallest critters barely visible with the unaided eye to the largest inhabitants of the ocean, the Fiji Islands have it all.

There is endless diving opportunity to explore coral reefs full of marine life that in its diversity and beauty is matched only by very few destinations on the planet.

Fiji caters for the backpacking independent dive-traveler with lots of budget accommodations to a number of luxury live-aboard dive vessels