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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 interesting facts about Fiji - culture, history and much more
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 interesting facts about Fiji - culture, history and much more

To many of us, Fiji is just another exotic island in the Pacific. However, there's so much to experience on this island, that it's a shame more people aren't aware of its unique culture and history.


The nation of over a hundred islands, and smiles!

Despite what many people assume, the Republic of Fiji is actually made up of over 300 islands of various sizes, out of which, only 110 are inhabited. Most of its people live on the largest island Viti Levu. While there are plenty of beautiful beaches around, almost all the islands have a mountainous interior with dense rainforests. Fijians are very hospitable in general, and are always willing to help. Their easy-going attitude and warm smiles have made them famous among travellers.


Know the story behind Kava

Kava is Fiji's national drink. The drink is made from the root of the pepper plant, according to a traditional recipe. The powdered root is mixed with water in a traditional bowl called a tanoa, and then served to guests. The bitter, brown coloured drink isn't the most appealing, but it is said to contain several medicinal benefits and is used for treating stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches and the common cold among other things. In addition, like Japan's green tea ceremony, Fijians have a ritual Kava ceremony. Participants gather in a circle on the floor, while the leader mixes kava in a tanoa. Guests will then clap before and after drinking from the cup.


The home of the fire walkers

The sight of brave men confidential walking barefoot across burning hot, white stones has captivated people for centuries. This art was developed around 500 years ago by the Sawau tribe on Bega Island. According to legends, the ancient fire walking ritual was passed down to the tribe by a god, and the natives still practice the ceremony the way it has been taught for generations. Over the past century, the original ritual has been modified to appeal to tourist. Fire walking ceremonies can now be found in some resorts throughout the island like the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, for example.


Fijian cuisine

Fijians are traditionally healthy eaters - preferring a diet of root vegetables, coconuts, and fresh seafood. They are well known for their traditional use of deep earth pits to cook food, and just watching the preparation is quite interesting. Marinated fish and meats and wrapped in banana leaves r palm leaves before being placed under hot coals in the pit. Root vegetables like yams and cassava are placed on top. The long cooking time combined with the leaves, renders juicy meats with deliciously, delicate flavours. If you're staying at any of the Fiji luxury resorts available in the area, you'll be able to taste their delectable cuisines!


A macabre past

Fiji once famously held the title of the "Cannibal Isles". The gruesome practice existed on the islands until the mid 1800s. The practise is thought to have started during long sea voyages, when native sailors had no other choice but to resort to cannibalism for survival. Although no longer practised, you can still find souvenirs shaped like instruments used during the cannibalism period, like a brain picker, and cannibal fork.