Modern Fiji is a melting pot of Indigenous Melanesian and Polynesian (about 56%), Indian (38%), Chinese and European influences, which is evidenced in the architecture, crafts, foods and way of life. Fijians are considered among the friendliest, most hospitable and laidback people in the world.
The population of Fiji is about 920,000 and three languages are mainly spoken: English, Fijian and Hindustani. The main religions are Christian and Roman Catholic, with a small number of Muslim and Sikh worshippers.
As with every foreign holiday destination, it’s important that visitors show respect to the local way of doing things. In Fiji there are customs that should be observed, particularly if you are visiting a village where people are living a traditional lifestyle.
HowShould I Respect Local Customs and Culture?
If you are invited to visit a village, dress modestly and take off your hat, as wearing a hat is considered an insult to the village chief. It is also considered rude to touch someone’s head, so if you are surrounded by a gaggle of happy children, remind yourself not to pat them on the head. Take off your shoes and leave them outside the front door if you are entering a home.
When you visit a village it is considered polite to bring a gift (“sevusevu”) of kava. This can be purchased at markets, or, if you’re travelling with a guide, they will be able to take care of it. The kava is presented to the head of the village and, after it’s been pounded into powder and blended with water, it is typically shared in their house. If you are invited to partake in the ceremony expect a numb tongue.
Should I Tip in Fiji?
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, tips at most of the resorts go into an Employee Christmas Fund for an end of year celebration.