I saw this on FamilySearch yesterday – Fiji Culture: Traditional Food, Art, and More: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/fiji-culture-tradition-heritage/. Long article so I highlighted a few items. Worth a read as I knew a little about the culture, but learned a lot more from the article.
Bula! This oft-used greeting in Fiji translates to “life,” with its longer use ni sa bula vinaka translating to “wishing you happiness and good health.”This warm well-wishing lies at the heart of Fiji culture, which is just as vibrant and inviting as Fiji’s white-sand beaches, tropical scents, and lush green forests.
Below we’ve highlighted just a few of the island’s traditions that make Fiji culture so inviting and full of life!
Masi (Tapa Cloth)
A popular art form in Fiji is the creation of the Fijian masi, also known as tapa cloth. Masi is made from inner white bark of the paper mulberry. To create masi, Fijians strip the bark, soak it in water, and then beat and felt the cloth for hours.
Once the cloth is prepared, designs are added using red, brown, or black vegetable dyes. Masi patterns commonly include repeated geometric motifs, created either by freehand or with stencils. Traditionally, these stencils were made from banana leaves or other large-leaved plants.
Masi can be used as a ceremonial dress or wall décor or as a table mat or blanket.
Mat and Basket Weaving
The traditional Fijian art of mat and basket weaving is alive and well on the islands. It is not uncommon to see people weaving hats, mats, and other materials from durable coconut palm fronds.
Voi voi (known also as pandanus leaves) is another popular weaving material—though preparing the leaves can take longer than the actual weaving! The voi voi leaves must be stripped of their thorns, boiled, and then dried in the sun. Sometimes, the material is blackened through a process of burying the leaves in mud for several days and then reboiling them.
Similar to masi, these woven projects can be a form of décor, or they can work more practically as baskets, floor coverings, or sleeping mats. But more often than not, the weavings have both artistic and practical purposes—an everyday reminder of Fijian heritage.
Traditionally, weaving and creating masi were done by women. The men’s crafts centered more on wood carving, especially in crafting canoes.
Traditional Fijian Dancing
Dancing is an important part of Fiji culture. The most popular performance, called a meke, involves both dancers and singers or percussionists.
Fijian food is an important part to Fiji’s culture because it’s an important part of the island itself—much of the authentic, traditional dishes prepared in Fiji are based on natural, local resources. This means that most traditional meals are made with seafood, vegetables, roots, and tropical fruit like coconut.
The traditional way of cooking Fijian food includes wrapping the meals in banana leaves and palm fronds and then cooking them in an underground, earth oven heated by hot stones. This earth oven is called a lovo.