Along with its beautiful physical aspects, Fiji also carries with it a reputation for being home to one of the friendliest and most hospitable local cultures in the world. With its location in the South Pacific Ocean, it holds a mix of different religions, races and languages – it’s a veritable melting pot of Melanesians and Polynesians from the Indian sub-continent, as well as a lot of English and European influence. When it comes to religion, there is just as much variety, with Hindu, Muslim and Christianity being some of the most prevalent belief structures.
As with every foreign holiday destination, it’s important that visitors show respect to the local way of doing things. And even though Fiji is home to such a mixed bag of people, there are still some local customs that should be observed – especially if you’re going to be visiting villages where the traditional customs are still very much alive.
What Language Do They Speak in Fiji?
The official language of Fiji is English. This is handy because it means that when you go there on holiday, you’ll find that just about everyone who lives there speaks English. What’s interesting though is that there are still remnants of the traditional Fijian language alive and widely spoken throughout many of the villages in various dialects. So if you’re interested in a learning a little bit of traditional Fijian language, your best bet is to fully immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting some of the villages and listening to the locals converse.
How Should I Respect Local Customs & Culture?
One of the reasons why Fijians are considered to be some of the friendliest people on earth is because they’re so open and warm to foreign cultures. So it should go without saying that the same respect be shown back to them. If you’re planning on making a trip to one of the local villages, you’ll find that you’ll always be welcomed and in some cases even invited into people’s homes.
It’s important to know that if you are invited to a village, you should wear modest clothing and take off your hat on arrival (wearing a hat is considered an insult to the chief). You should also know that if you’re invited into someone’s home, it’s expected that you leave your shoes outside the door. Another quirky custom which is an absolute must to adhere to is avoiding touching someone’s head – it’s considered an insult and even though it might be tempting when you’re surrounded by wide-eyed, smiling children, it should never be done.
Should I Tip in Fiji?
Unlike a lot of other popular holiday destinations, tipping is not generally expected or encouraged in Fiji. If you are accustomed to tipping though, or if you accidentally offer a tip, it isn’t going to go without great appreciation. As Fiji is a communal society which believes everything should be shared, they hold the principle that if a guest has enjoyed their holiday, it is due to everyone’s contribution – from the staff who greet guests every day, to the ones who work behind the scenes. It’s for that reason that most of the resorts have an Employee Christmas Fund. This is a shared collection of tips and donations from guests, which is then used by the resort to celebrate Christmas at the end of each year for the employees. So if you have a good time in Fiji, then just make an offering to the Employee Christmas Fund - you’re more than welcome to make a contribution to creating a happier Christmas!