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About Fiji

Fiji offers a multi-cultural diversity in religion, music and dance. Busy shopping districts, markets and local villages' offers you with plentiful local arts, paintings and traditional crafts to take home.

Fiji offers a very unique flora and fauna experience with unspoiled beauty and tranquility with some of the most spectacular scenery, both coastal and hinterland. Due to the mountainous nature of the Islands, there a numerous streams and waterfalls creating crystal clear ponds with no leeches, snakes, crocodiles or pestilent diseases such as malaria, making them ideal to have a swim and cool off in.

For those who appreciate fine foods, you can also discover authentic culinary tastes from India, China, Korea, Japan, Italy, the best of Europe as well as Australian and New Zealand and of course, not forgetting the traditional Fijian feast. It is recommended to try the outdoor cooking experience of the Lovo.

Snorkeling and scuba diving is very popular. With large coral reefs teeming with life, the waters surrounding Fiji are considered to have some of the world's most beautiful coral reefs with many species of marine life.

Population

868,000 (estimate from July 2003)

There is a great diversity of languages, religions, customs and subcultures. Indigenous Fijians 52%, predominately of Melanesian origin but with strong Polynesian influences Indo-Fijians 44%, most are descendants of indentured labourers, initially from north eastern India. Later, larger groups of southern India arrived. The balance of Fiji’s population is made up of Europeans, Rotumans, Chinese, Europeans and Pacific Islanders born or living in Fiji.

Religion

Religion is extremely influential in all aspects of Fijian society. A little over half of Fijian’s are of Christian denomination 52.9%, but there is also a large Hindu community of 38.1%. Other religious groups make up the remaining 9% - Muslims 7.8%, Sikhs 0.7%, Other 0.1% or Non Religious 0.4%.

Language

English, Fijian and Hindu are the official languages in Fiji. Indigenous language, know as Bauan is commonly spoken in more remote areas. There are infact around 300 regional dialects and most Fijians are multilingual.

Etiquette

The Fijian dress code is conservative, especially in the rural areas. It is customary when visiting villages, that women wear long saris to cover their legs. Although you can get away with it in a resort, a woman in a short skirt, shorts or sleeveless top is unusual anywhere else and will attract lots of attention. To avoid hassles and to respect the local customs, it is always best to cover your knees & shoulders.

Kava Ceremony (Yaqona)

Important to the Fijian culture and a favoured pastime, Yoqona or Kava is an infusion made from the root of the Kava plant, a type of pepper plant. It is pounded into a powder and mixed with water then drunk from a bilo (half coconut shell).
It is believed to have healing properties, curing ailments such as tooth decay, respiratory disease and a known diuretic. Kava is not considered an intoxicating drink but does give you a mild feeling of euphoria.
In the past, Fijians use to drink Kava in religious ceremonies and only chiefs and priests partook. Today it is more of a social drink and social experience. There is a certain etiquette to drinking kava and is still very much a ritual for most Fijians.

Shopping

The main shopping districts of Nadi and Suva offer a variety of goods. From handicraft shops, vibrant saris, Indian jewellery and silks, fashion by local designers and stylish international boutiques, as well as budget gifts and souvenir shops.

Fijians are known for their bartering, so if you would love to practice your bargaining skills, head for Cummings Street in Suva where you will find it quite an art form. If you are looking for less pushy salespeople, try Lautoka and Savusavu for your shopping experience.

You can also buy interesting crafts direct from villages, particularly woven goods and carvings.
Most stores are closed on Sundays and all major credit cards are widely accepted.
Tipping is not expected when paying for goods or services.