Fiji is multi-racial, multi-cultural nation. The population of Fiji is made up of significant numbers of followers of all major religions.
Visitors will find Christian churches, mosques, and Sikh and Hindu temples throughout the country. Visitors of Fiji are more than welcome to join the locals for Sunday worship and it's highly recommended, even if you're not that religious.
A Methodist service will give you a good insight into how the Fijian village culture is structured and why the people are so friendly and family focused. You may not understand many of the words, but the singing and ceremony will stay in your memory for as long as you live. Fijis religious ceremonies are filled with great dancing, singing, and much laughter. Fiji is filled with many locals and many visitors from around the planet. The main religious groups you will see in Fiji are Hindus (290,000), Methodists (265,000), Catholics (70,000), and Muslims (62,000). Around 40 percent of the total population is Hindu or Muslim due to the large Indo Fijian population. Only 2 percent of Indo Fijians have converted to Christianity despite Methodist missionary efforts dating back to 1884.
Of the 882 islands of Fiji, only about half of them are inhabited. On most of those islands, food is grown. The main food is sugarcane. The Fijians also grow cacao, corn, coffee, coconut, ginger, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kava, taro, beans, pineapple, tobacco, bananas, rice, and copra dyers. They also catch tuna and raise pigs, goats and cows. With all of the food produced if Fiji many of the villages are not with out food. Fiji food manly has a spicy taste with many home grow products. The over all recipes consist of spices, meets, and fruits all combined into one to make a fabulous platter.
The dress of Fiji has a very strict dress code. Wearing short shorts, Halter tops, and bathing costumes in public is a very defensive thing. Wear those costumes shows a lack of respect. In a Fijian village its considered offensive to reveal too much skin. Women wrap a Sulu around themselves to cover up there skin. Men always wear shirts into town, and women should always wear a dress that covers their legs when the sit in a chair. Nothing will mark you as quickly as a tourist nor make you more popular with street vendors than scanty clothing. Of course it is permitted to wear skimpy clothing on the beach in front of a resort hotel. In a society where even bathing suits are considered extremely forbidden for local women, public nudity is unthinkable, and topless sunbathing by women is also banned in Fiji except in private resort areas.
Fijian fire walking is a very big tradition in Fiji and has been for thousands of years. In Fiji both Fijians and Indo Fijians practice fire walking, but Fijians walk on heated stones instead of hot embers. Legend has it that the ability to walk on fire was first given to a warrior named Tui-na-viqalita from the Beqa island, just off the coast of Viti Levu. Fijian fire walkers men only are not permitted to have any type of intercourse or eat a coconut for two weeks prior to a performance. A man whose wife is pregnant is also barred. In a circular pit about 4 or so meters across with hundreds of large stones heated until they are white hot with a wood fire surrounding the wife. If you were to throw a towel onto the stones they would burst into flames. Much ceremony and chanting accompanies certain phases of the ritual, such as the moment when the wood is removed to leave just the white hot stones. The men psych themselves up in a nearby hut, then emerge, enter the pit, and walk briskly around it once. Bundles of leaves and grass are then thrown on the stones and the men stand and the men stand inside the steaming pit again to chant a final song. They seem to have complete immunity to pain, and there is no trace of injury.
Arts of Fiji
The Fiji arts and crafts are closely related to that of Tonga. The Fijian canoes are patterned after the more advanced Polynesian type although the Fijian sailors were very timid people. Fijian war clubs, food bowls, tanoas which are kava bowls, eating utensils, clay pots, and tapa cloth are all considered Fijis finest artifacts. In Fiji there are two types of wood carvings the ones made from vesi which is considered iron wood in English and then there is nawanawa which is superior to those woods that are lighter and more breakable. In times past it often took many years to make a Fijian war club because all the carvings were done in the living tree and left to grow into the desired shape. Many crafts are alive but some Fijians carve tikis or mock New Guinea masks and they were smeared with black shoe polish to look like ebony to sell to tourists. Much of the Fijian art is very special and highly recognized. The art done today in Fiji is much like the art made in Fiji thousands of years ago.
The architecture in Fiji really is not that advanced compared to the United States. Most of the structures in Fiji are made up of straw, bamboo, rope, and wood. That is what most of the living structures are made up of in the Fiji villages. When you get closer to a main city there you will see small builds made of metal and steel kind of like the builds we see just not as fancy. Since Fiji is not really a wealthy country there structures and living materials are not new age everything is basiclly built by hand and is not a machine built structure.