Fiji Culture: What to do and don’t do!

What is the Fiji culture? What do you need to do and how can a traveler or tourist engage the culture effective? While I am not an anthropologist by any means, I did live in the Fijian Islands for eight months among the local people and did engage them daily.

The good news is that Fijian were heavily influenced by the British and later the Australians. This is positive because they are very comfortable with people of different cultures, races and mindsets today. They also speak very good English as a result. The educational level of the average Fijian is actually quite good.

I found the Fiji culture to be a mixture of Polynesian culture and western culture. Fiji has for sure been influenced by European culture and there is no denying that.

What to do when in the presence of Fijians

The main thing is always stand when you greet someone and always be seated shortly after. This is not just for Fiji but it seems that they are passionately about this norm than we are in America.

Another thing is Fijian like to sit on the floor alot. It might seem odd to us but they have done it for centuries. They also like to sit with their legs crossed. (Americans call this “Indian style”) They do it for hours. It was always a challenge for me because my knees did not like it too much!

When they hand you a bowl of Kava, you drink it in one drink and then make sure you hand the coconut cup back and clap. I am not sure how the clap got started but it is part of their culture when it comes to Kava now!

Other than that, you should have a great time in Fiji culture. If you have questions, just ask a Fijian and they will be happy to tell you why they do something most of the time.

Frank Bainimarama
What not to do in Fiji Culture?

The main thing to be careful of is do not touch their head. They are very touchy about hair. I do not know why but they are. It is believed that an early missionary that was murdered touched a chief’s hair and the village men murdered him for it. Not sure if that is true or not.

The other thing to be careful about is Fiji politics. The history of independent Fiji is one of coups, government overthrows, and dictators. Fijians do not openly talk about their feeling about politics normally because they do not know who is working for what politicians. It is about not ending up in a ditch.

The last thing to be cautious about discussing poverty in Fiji. Many of the people do not actually believe there is poverty in the country. For them, denying the reality is better than addressing it. Discussing it could be a very uncomfortable time for everyone!



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  1. […] Crystal clear water, white sand beaches and a bit of relaxation. Yep, that sounds good after a year as nutty as 2016 has been. (PS. Here are some do’s and don’t for visiting Fiji). […]

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