CULTURE

The culture of Fiji is a tapestry of indigenous Fijian, Indian, European, Chinese, and other nationalities. Culture polity, traditions, language, food, costume, belief system, architecture, arts, craft, music, dance, and sports which will be discussed in this article to give you an indication of Fiji's indigenous community but also the various communities which make up Fiji as a modern culture and living. The indigenous culture is an active and living part of everyday life for the majority of the population. However, it has evolved with the introduction of vibrant and old cultures including Indian, Chinese and European culture, and various cultures from the Pacific neighbors of Fiji; in particular the Tongan and Rotuman cultures. The culture of Fiji, including language, has created a unique communal and national identity

 
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TRADITION AND HIERARCHY

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.

LANGUAGES

The official language is English while the national indigenous language is Bauan which is only one of the many dialects that exist in the Fiji Group, each of the fourteen provinces more or less have their own dialect though there is a clear distinction between the dialects of the West, Central and Eastern parts of the country.

TRADITIONS AND CEREMONIES

Etiquette in indigenous Fijian ceremony is rather intricate depending on the function as various formalities and presentations which do several things; firstly it shows respect between two communal groups, strengthen tribal and family ties and reinforce social, tribal and family ties.

 
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CUISINE

The cuisine of Fiji in pre-colonial times consisted of root crops, vegetables, and fruits, as well as various land animals such as wild pig, human, and various birds. The coastal tribes would have had the same, but also had a large amount of local seafood. These would have been prepared with local herbs and spices on wood fire rock ovens.

ARCHITECTURE

In Old Fiji, the architecture of villages was simple and practical to meet the physical and social need and to provide communal safety the houses were square in shape and with pyramid like shaped roofs, and the walls and roof were thatched and various plants of practical use were planted nearby, each village having a meeting house and a Spirit house.

 
 

The spirit house was elevated on a pyramid like base built with large stones and earth, again a square building with an elongated pyramid like roof with various scented flora planted nearby. The houses of Chiefs were of similar design and would be set higher than his subjects houses but instead of an elongated roof would have similar roof to those of his subjects homes but of course on a larger scale.

With the introduction of communities from Asia aspects of their cultural architecture are now evident in urban and rural areas of Fiji's two main Islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. A village structure shares similarities today but built with modern materials and spirit houses (Bure Kalou) have been replaced by churches of varying design.

The urban landscape of early Colonial Fiji was reminiscent of most British colonies of the 19th and 20th century in tropical regions of the world, while some of this architecture remains, the urban landscape is evolving in leaps and bonds with various modern aspects of architecture and design becoming more and more evident in the business, industrial and domestic sector, the rural areas are evolving at a much slower rate.