There are so many exciting facts about Fiji! It is astounding how the Earth has multiple tiny islands, and each of these has something unique about them. Fiji comprises of approximately 330 islands, only about one – third of which are inhabited… but each of these islands is super fascinating! What makes Fiji so interesting, read on to find out…
- Exciting Facts About Fiji
- 1. Fiji Consists of 332 Islands
- 2. Fiji’s Flag Represents the Union Jack
- 3. Cannibalism Was Once Practised in Fiji
- 4. Fiji Government Has Banned Single-Use Plastic!
- 5. You Might Get Proposed With a Tooth in Fiji!
- 6. Try Kava, Fiji’s Traditional Drink
- 7. There Are Three Official Languages in Fiji
- 8. You Shouldn’t Wear Hats in Fiji
- 9. Rugby Is Fiji’s National Sport
- 10. Eating Raw Fish Is Pretty Common
- 11. Fiji Has Extremely Venomous Sea Snakes
- 12. The Practice of Firewalking Originated in Fiji
- 13. Fiji’s Traditional Dance Is Meke
- 14. There Are Over 300+ Plant Species in Fiji
- 15. Fiji Might Be More Than 3000 Years Old!
- 16. The British Ruled Over Fiji for a Century
- 17. Fiji Has Fewer Tourists Compared to Other Island Countries
- 18. The Most Common Word in Fiji is ‘Bula’
- 19. Exporting Sugar Is One of the Main Sources of Income
- 20. Fiji Has One of the Smallest National Parks
- 21. Fiji Was Originally Called Viti
- 22. Fiji Has a Turbulent Political History
- 23. The Largest Hindu Temple in the Southern Hemisphere Is in Fiji
- 24. Fijians Believe That Coconuts Have Eyes!
- 25. The Rainbow Reef Is a Popular Spot for Divers
- Facts About Fiji – Further Reading
Exciting Facts About Fiji
Fiji isn’t just about its beaches, but its history and culture too. Even from a traveller’s point of view too, knowing these facts about Fiji will help you soak in the country’s atmosphere and make your journey more fulfilling.
So, let’s get into it.
1. Fiji Consists of 332 Islands
Here’s one mind blowing fact about Fiji related to its geography.
Did you know that Fiji isn’t just an island country? Instead, it is an archipelago (a group of islands) that consists of 332 islands! Apart from that, it also has around 522 tiny islets.
Also, when it comes to inhabited land, only around 106 have permanent inhabitants. The largest island is Viti Levu, as it covers 57% of the country, and also has two large cities of Fiji, Suva (the capital city) and Lautoka.
2. Fiji’s Flag Represents the Union Jack
In all my years of travelling, I’ve realised that a nation’s flag says a lot about its history and culture.
Similarly, if you take a look at Fiji’s flag, you’ll find the Union Jack (the flag of the United Kingdom) on it.
The reason behind it is that Fiji was under British rule between the years 1874 and 1970. Hence, it received the Union Jack on its flag, as it was a part of the British Crown Colony.
The flag also consists of a coat of arms emblem on the side and a light blue background that symbolises the Pacific Ocean.
3. Cannibalism Was Once Practised in Fiji
This is one of the facts about Fiji that shook me to the core!
While reading about Fiji, I came to know that cannibalism was quite common there. In fact, while excavating, archaeologists have found remains of human flesh, dating back to 2500 years, with obvious signs of cannibalism on it.
Back in the 1860s, a Christian missionary named Reverend Thomas Baker, also lost his life to cannibalism. After that incident, several Fijians issued a public apology.
Even today, Fijians don’t shy away from accepting cannibalism as a part of their history. They also believe that they’re cursed because their ancestors killed a Christian missionary.
If you’re curious to know more about cannibalism in Fiji, you can visit the Naihehe Cave or the Cannibal Cave.
4. Fiji Government Has Banned Single-Use Plastic!
Some governments are taking excellent steps towards climate change in today’s time, including Fiji’s government. I believe this is a must-know fact about Fiji, as it’d increase your respect towards the island country!
The Fiji government enforced a ban on single-use plastic at the beginning of 2020. Hence, you won’t find single-use plastic bags in the market. If anybody is found using it, they’ll be charged with a fine or even a prison penalty.
If you don’t want to carry a bag with you, you can purchase a reusable eco-bag for some amount (around 50 cents).
5. You Might Get Proposed With a Tooth in Fiji!
You might have heard about people getting proposed with a diamond ring, or some other adorable accessory. However, Fijians like to propose in their own grand style!
Instead of offering a ring to the bride, the groom and his family present a sperm whale’s tooth. The tooth is also locally called tabua, which means “sacred”.
Although, the tooth comes with a hefty price today, due to less supply and more demand.
6. Try Kava, Fiji’s Traditional Drink
I had to include some facts about Fiji cuisine because it’s one of the most unique ones out there.
For instance, Fijians love to drink their traditional drink, Kava (also known as yaqona). This drink is slightly sedative and is made by crushing the yaqona roots, which are further strained with water.
Apart from its preparation, there’s also a unique way of drinking Kava. First, you’re supposed to sit in a circle. Then, you need to clap once, gulp down the drink, and finally clap thrice!
7. There Are Three Official Languages in Fiji
Fiji is a small island country, but it still has three official languages – English, Fijian, and Fiji Hindi.
The Fijian language is the native language of the Fiji residents. Therefore, around 54% of locals speak Fijian. On the other hand, Indo-Fijians tend to speak Fiji Hindi and make up about 37% of the population.
Most Fijians also know English due to the colonisation of the British. So, you might find locals speaking in English amongst each other too! It’s also the main language for government bodies and schools.
8. You Shouldn’t Wear Hats in Fiji
One of the facts about Fiji that you need to know if you’re planning to travel there is to avoid wearing hats and sunglasses. The reason behind it has something to do with the local customs and traditions.
Fijians believe that the head is a sacred area, and it shouldn’t be covered with anything. The only person who’s allowed to wear a hat is the chief of the village. So, if you wear a hat, you’re insulting both the village’s head and their local traditions.
Similarly, you should also avoid touching someone’s head, or wearing sunglasses, as it tampers with the head.
9. Rugby Is Fiji’s National Sport
You might think that Fiji’s national sport must’ve something to do with water. Well, this is one of the surprising facts about Fiji sports.
In Fiji, Rugby was introduced back in the 1880s by the British and New Zealanders. Today, it has become the favourite game for Fijians and is also the national sport.
World Rugby recognizes Fiji as a tier-two Rugby nation. The country has also won three Olympic medals (two gold and one bronze) in both Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens.
10. Eating Raw Fish Is Pretty Common
Raw fish is a part of many cuisines from all over the world. But, eating raw fish is extremely common in Fiji. In fact, their national dish, also known as Kokoda, is a type of salad that consists of raw fish.
The preparation is simple. All you have to do is marinate the raw fish with lemon and let it set for 30 to 40 minutes. Then, you have to add coconut cream, capsicum, tomatoes, and onions to it. Mix it all together and enjoy fresh Fijian cuisine!
11. Fiji Has Extremely Venomous Sea Snakes
Fiji has amazing beaches, but it also has fascinating fauna and flora. For example, Fiji’s coastline is full of venomous sea snakes.
Here’s also one of the astonishing facts about Fiji. The sea snakes here aren’t your ordinary snakes. Instead, they are 20 times more poisonous compared to the land snakes!
The only relieving thing is that these sea snakes have very tiny mouths, which makes them incapable of biting humans.
12. The Practice of Firewalking Originated in Fiji
Firewalking is a common tradition and practice in many tribal groups of the world. Yet, many people believe that the whole idea of firewalking actually originated in Fiji around 500 years ago.
The story has its roots in the small village of Nakarovu on Beqa Island. A local named Tuinaiviqalita was blessed with the power of being able to walk on fire without getting burned. People believe that these powers have been passed on to the other members of the Beqa’s Sawau tribe.
If you visit Beqa Island, you’ll come across the firewalking tradition at a lot of places!
13. Fiji’s Traditional Dance Is Meke
I love knowing about the various dances of countries. So, this is one of my favourite facts about Fiji!
Fiji’s traditional dance, Meke, is truly something extraordinary, as it is a mix of both dance and storytelling. The dance is performed in groups, where men dress up as warriors and women wear traditional skirts.
Once upon a time, the Meke dance was also used as a means of communication between two villages!
14. There Are Over 300+ Plant Species in Fiji
Since Fiji is covered with 54.7% forest, you can find many unique plant species here.
According to estimates, there are approximately 324 flora species in the Fiji forests. Out of these, 14 were introduced whereas the rest 310 species are native to Fiji.
Some of the most common plants in Fiji include Flame of the Woods, coconut palm, Chinese hibiscus, and Garden croton.
15. Fiji Might Be More Than 3000 Years Old!
Do you want to know some facts about Fiji that will blow your mind? Well, Fiji might be one of the oldest countries in the world, as it is around 3000 years old!
In the beginning, the people of the Lapita culture inhabited Fiji. As time passed by, other Melanesian settlers also came, followed by the Europeans in the 17th century.
Before the 17th and 18th centuries, many outsiders, including the British, were afraid to inhabit Fiji due to the widespread practice of cannibalism.
16. The British Ruled Over Fiji for a Century
Let’s talk about some historical facts about Fiji.
The British colonised Fiji between 1874 and 1970. However, they practised an indirect rule, wherein they allowed the local chiefs to rule over the people. But, even the local chiefs were prohibited from carrying out certain things, like tribal warfare.
The colonisation by the British brought about many changes in Fiji, such as the introduction of Christianity, the English language, and the education sector too.
17. Fiji Has Fewer Tourists Compared to Other Island Countries
There are many reasons for this such as less availability of flights, a remote location, and low cost-effectiveness. But, in recent years, they’ve amped up their tourism marketing campaign, and are receiving more travellers than before.
18. The Most Common Word in Fiji is ‘Bula’
Here’s one of the fun facts about Fiji for my language lovers!
If you go to Fiji, you’ll find a lot of locals using the word Bula (boo-lah). Well, the reason behind it is that the word has multiple meanings. For instance, it is used for greetings, welcoming people, and even saying cheers!
19. Exporting Sugar Is One of the Main Sources of Income
Tourism is the primary source of income for Fijians, but apart from that, their sugar business is also prosperous.
Viti Levu, the largest inhabitable island of Fiji, is filled with sugarcane fields. Between the months of October and December, you’ll also see little trains travelling through the island, loaded with sugarcane!
Fiji also has four sugar mills that are about a hundred years old. Unfortunately, one sugar mill got severely damaged during the 2009 floods.
20. Fiji Has One of the Smallest National Parks
Do you love national parks? Then, you’re going to love these facts about Fiji national parks.
Fiji has one of the smallest national parks in the world, named Sigatoka Sand Dunes Park. It covers an area of 1.77 sq km and is located near the Sigatoka River on the Viti Levu island.
The entire park is filled with beautiful white sand, and once you get past that, you’ll be blessed with some breathtaking sights of the beach.
21. Fiji Was Originally Called Viti
Since we have discussed many cultural and historical facts about Fiji, let’s talk a bit about its name.
First, the local inhabitants used to call Fiji Viti. But, once the British explorer, Captain James Cook visited these islands, he renamed Viti to Fiji. Fiji is the anglicised version of Viti.
22. Fiji Has a Turbulent Political History
Fiji is one of those countries that have experienced political unrest. This is because the country has experienced several coups and even major government changes in the last few decades.
For instance, Fiji had two military coups in 1987, and one in 2006 too! The country also oscillates between ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism.
Despite their challenges and struggles, they welcome the visitors with open arms!
23. The Largest Hindu Temple in the Southern Hemisphere Is in Fiji
Fiji has a good amount of Hindu population (around 27.9%). So, it’s not surprising that you’ll find Hindu temples, customs, and traditions in Fiji.
However, one of the facts about Fiji to note is that the country also has the largest Hindu temple in the entire Southern Hemisphere!
The Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, located in Nadi is the pride of many Hindus residing in Fiji. Its construction ended in 1986, and it also has marvellous architecture.
24. Fijians Believe That Coconuts Have Eyes!
It’s funny how every country has its own set of superstitions, including Fiji. I can’t cover all of them in these facts about Fiji, but the one that stood out to me is about coconuts.
Apparently, many Fijians believe that coconuts have eyes, and they observe the people that pass by. They also fall on people that they’ve targeted, which leads to bad luck!
So well, be safe with coconuts if you ever visit Fiji.
25. The Rainbow Reef Is a Popular Spot for Divers
Since Fiji is home to over 300 islands, there is no shortage of good diving spots. Yet, the one area that has always been the diver’s paradise is the Rainbow Reef.
The Rainbow Reef is located in the Somosomo Strait right between the Taveuni and Vanua Levu islands. It has over 200 corals and 1000 different species of fish!
Some of the unique fish species that you’ll encounter in the Rainbow Reef are the Manta Rays and the Tiger Sharks!
Facts About Fiji – Further Reading
Despite its small size, there are simply so many fascinating facts about Fiji, apart from the ones listed in this article. However, I’ve tried my best to include the ones that stood out to me the most.
If you’ve heard other exciting facts about Fiji, you can tell me more about them in the comment section.
You can also check out other similar articles if you enjoyed reading facts about Fiji!