When visiting a village it is customary
to present a gift of yaqona, which is also known
as kava. The gift, called a sevusevu, is not
expensive-half-a-kilo (which is appropriate)
costs approximately $10.
It is presented to the Turaga ni Koro,
the executive head of the village. The presentation
is usually in his house and will generally be
attended by some of the older men who happen
to be in the vicinity at the time and can quickly
turn into a social occasion. Pounded into powder,
the yaqona will be mixed with water and served.
Be prepared to shake hands and to answer many
personal questions such as where you are from,
are you married, how many children do you have,
how much money you earn etc.
It is important to dress modestly when
away from the immediate vicinity of your resort
or hotel. Always carry a sulu (sarong, lavalava,
pareu) to cover bathing togs or shorts and halter
Do not wear a hat in a village as it is
considered an insult to a chief. Do not wear
shoes into people's houses. It is considered
an insult to touch someone's head.
Fijians are known as the friendliest people
in the world. Your respect for their customs
and traditions will not only make you a welcome
guest in their villages and homes, but add another
dimension to your Fijian holiday.
Important Tips About
Dress modestly. Don't wear shorts, and
women must not wear halter tops and shoulders
Do not wear hats. They are interpreted
as a sign of disrespect.
Always remove your shoes before entering
any house or other building.
Stay with your assigned host. If other
villagers ask you to eat or accompany them,
politely note that you are with your host and
would be honoured to visit with them at some
other time. Remember, Fijians will, out of
customs, always ask you to eat with them or
share whatever they have.
Speak softly. Raised voices are interpreted
as expressing anger.
Show respect, but be cautious with praise.
If you show too much liking for an object,
then the Fijians will feel obliged to give
it to you as a gift, whether they can afford
to or not.
If you spend a night in the village,
reward your host with a useful gift of similar
value for each member of your party. It is
not recommended that you stay in a village
which is in the habit of accommodating paying
visitors. If you feel obliged to pay more,
then ask your host what he or she might like
and purchase it for them. A bundle of groceries
is graciously appreciated by large Fijian families.
You will find some villages more traditional
than others, especially those distant from towns
and urban centres. Remember, Fijians are not
judgmental of other people and will rarely express
a negative opinion. However, you will find that
the more you respect their customs, the warmer
your village welcome will be.