People and Culture

Fijians and the Fiji Culture

The people indegenious to Fiji are ethnically classified as Melanesian, but they are actually closer to Polynesian. Furthermore, many of them intermarry with Polynesians from the neighbouring Tonga.

More than half of Fiji consists of the indegenious people. About two-fifths are ethnically Indian, descendants from the indentured workers who were brought in to work in the sugar industry. A minor percentage of the Indians are descended from free migrants; you may find them in commerce, medicine, and law.

There are also other minority groups: part-Europeans, Chinese, and Pacific Islanders whose roots come from outside Fiji.

Language and Religion

The official languages of Fiji are English, Fijian, and Fijian Hindi. The widely spoken Fijian has many dialects too, the most common one being Bauan Fijian, which originated from Bau.

Most people in Fiji speak at least two languages: English and their own mother tongue.

But an interesting thing to keep in mind is that the Fijian language has only about 10,000 words, so communication very much comes down to body language and facial expression. Something to remember when you’re in Fiji!

Having said that, learning a few Fijian words is useful. All you need for now are two: bula and vinaka. Bula is a greeting, and vinaka means thank you.

Religion-wise, the majority of people in Fiji are from the Christian tradition. Around the 1850s, Methodist missionaries arrived at the islands and converted the locals. The Roman Catholics and Anglicans arrived later but were not as successful.

Thus, almost all indigenous Fijians are Methodist Christians. Approximately one-tenth of them are Roman Catholic. There are also some from the Assemblies of God Christian denomination.

Hinduism is common among the Indians, and there are also a small number of Muslims.

As you can see, Fiji, with its picturesque surroundings, is rich in history and a melting pot of cultures. Intriguing, to say the very least.

Bula Fiji