Tourists that first arrive at a Fijian resort are often surprised by the unique fusion of Indian and Fijian culture. Nearly half of the population in Fiji is of Indian ancestry. Many Fiji travel guides are quick to show places of interest, but sometimes lack explaining the cultural diversity that is unique to Fiji. Savvy travelers are choosing a vacation in Fiji to experience the rich Indian culture as well as a traditional Fijian culture.
British colonists brought the first Indians first to Fiji in 1879, as indentured servants to work in their sugar cane plantations. The hard-working Indians brought with them their rich culture and heritage. This rich heritage continues to thrive adding a vibrant, colorful dimension to the islands of Fiji. Through generations, Fijian and Indians have co-existed together with varying degrees of integration and tolerance. Even when disagreements occur, they are settled in a peaceful manner. The two cultures remain distinct, but they are also linked together in inseparable ways to the islands that are dearly loved by both. Tourists can experience this fusion of cultures when they participate in shared celebrations and cuisine that is unique to Fiji.
As with other South Pacific Islanders, Fijians have a rich seafaring history that is steeped in spiritualism, warfare and cannibalism. Fijian resorts today often host dance groups that demonstrate traditional dances, which include knife dancing and fire dancing. Beca Isand has the distinction of fire walking. Fire walking demonstrations are particularly popular at some Fijian resorts. Sevu-sevu is also an important ceremony of greeting when people visit a village. The sevu-sevu ceremony traditionally involved the meeting of two village chiefs. This ceremony includes the serving of yaqona (Kava). Fijians also drink kava during informal social gatherings. This practice is a part to modern Fijian culture that visitors on a vacation in Fiji can experience
When you walk along the streets of the cities, and stroll through retail shops, you will discover the gorgeous saris and vibrant colors distinctive to the Indian culture. Indian music, Hindu shrines and the aroma of curry will transport your state of mind directly to India. Shops are over-flowing with material for saris. Indian curry restaurants appear on every corner. Fiji travel guides are filled with directions to unique Hindu temples that welcome travelers. Whether it’s the Cobra shrine near Labasa or the Hindu temple at Nadi, traditional Indian culture is a vibrant part of Fiji.
Stroll through any large farmer’s market in Suva, Nadi or Savusavu. Ladies in colorful saris and flower patterned sulus work hard selling vegetables, coconuts and dahl next to booths selling kava roots and freshly caught seafood. A rich aroma of freshly ground spices blends with the distinctive smell of kava. Nearby, a police officer dressed in his white sulu uniform assists a village elder with an ATM transaction. Everyone says a cheerful greeting of ‘Bula vinaka.’ This is Fiji.