Fiji

You are in Fiji. You have to meet one of the locals. Here is how to greet properly. You just say Bula. Bula in Fijian language means „health“ or „life“.

In Fiji it is a tradition that young man is asking girl's father for her hand. He brings a special present. If possible it is a whale's tooth. It is a symbol of wealth, status in society.

Fijian people
Fijian people wearing traditional clothes

Let's assume that the young man got a positive response. His next step is to make some food. He has to send it to the bride's family. This is called „warming“. Just before the wedding bride is tattooed. Having tattoos is sign of beauty in Fiji.

One of the essential parts of any wedding party in Fiji is a very popular drink called Kava. It is brewed from the crushed root of the Kava plant (Piper methysticum). Ceremonial drinking of Kava is called Yagona.

Yagona
Yagona - ceremonial drinking of Kava

In the past Kava was prepared by young village girls. They chewed the pieces of raw root. The soft pulp they created was then mixed with water.

Nowadays head of the ceremony mixes the powdered root with water in a big wooden bowl known as Tanoa. The root is strained through a cloth. When Kava is ready, the man claps with cupped hands.

Guests sit crossed legged on the floor. Each guest in turn is offered a bilo, a small bowl made from half of a coconut, containing Kava. The guest must clap before and after drinking.

Kava should not be spilled. It should be drunk in one continuous sip. Kava is thought to be antidepressant, good for fighting migraine headache and cramps. Kava is included in local riddles, chants, jokes etc.