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Captain Cook Cruises Fiji | Blog
Getting to know a different culture is one of the most rewarding and worthwhile parts of travel. However, it’s clearly important to respect the cultural norms and traditions wherever you visit – and some prior knowledge of what to expect is a must.
Fijian culture is vibrant and friendly, and you can expect a warm welcome at any of the villages you may choose to visit. By respecting local customs and traditions, your experience will be even warmer.
1. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
Start by making sure you dress conservatively. This means women should make sure their shoulders and knees (and everything in between!) are covered and aren’t wearing any midriff tops or short shorts. The same applies to men, who should avoid tank tops and shorts when in the village. Avoid wearing hats or sunglasses, as these are considered disrespectful – and if you’re entering someone’s house, remove your shoes first.
2. BE RESPECTFUL
Got a loud voice? Try to keep it down – speaking loudly or raising your voice is interpreted as a sign of anger, so try to always speak softly. Don’t point directly at anyone, as this is considered rude, and be careful to watch your language too, as Fijians rarely swear. If you’re offered a sip of kava at a ceremony, do try it. It’s rude to decline.
Smoking is generally accepted within the community and can be done in public places. With that being said, there is a smoking ban has been placed on all public transport. Keep this in mind to avoid accidentally getting into trouble when you hop onto a bus. It’s also important to note that some dining and entertainment venues may impose their own no-smoking zones within their premises.
If you are being given food either by a villager or in a traditional area, it is important to wait for your food to be blessed before eating. Fijians are highly spiritual and religious people, so making sure the food is blessed is very important. Failing to do so might come off as a sign of disrespect.
5. WHEN VISITING A VILLAGE
It’s important to be respectful at all times when visiting a Fijian village. As Fijians see their whole village as their private place, it is integral that you treat it as such. This includes being respectful to the village leader, announcing your arrival when you enter a house, and accept gifts or decline politely.
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND!
1. Household Culture
Home life in Fiji bears a lot of similarities to traditional, conservative Western lifestyles from the 1950’s. Women are traditionally expected to take care of domestic duties, such as cooking, cleaning and raising children, and are often actively involved in helping out with their church as well. Men are the primary providers, working during the day to support the family and coming home to relax in the evening. In some Indo-Fijian households, women will also go off to work during the daytime, but are still responsible for home duties when they return.
Time in Fiji is viewed differently in village and city settings, and also differs between the two major cultural groups (Indo-Fijians and Indigenous Fijians). Indo-Fijians and those living in cities are traditionally very punctual and are careful to always be on time, whereas things are much more relaxed in rural settings, where “Fiji time” is the norm.
TRAVEL TO FIJI TODAY!
Ultimately, Fijians will forgive foreigners for any cultural faux pas they may commit during their stay, but by showing at least a basic knowledge of the Fijian way of life, you’ll be demonstrating your respect for the incredible country and people you visit. With that knowledge, you can with confidence start planning for your trip to Fiji on one of our small ship cruises.