Fiji’s constitution protects the rights of every Fijian to practice their religion and beliefs and their festivals and public holidays demonstrate this religious freedom and tolerance.
The Hindu festival of Holi the”Festival of Colors” is marked with playful throwing of coloured water and powder and is celebrated by communities of Hindus and non-Hindus annually.
(Photo: Holi Festival. Source: www.happyholi2015images.co.in)
The celebration of Ram Naumi to mark the birth of the Hindu god Lord Rama is celebrated amongst the Hindu community in Fiji and dramatized in schools and communities to remember the Indian deity.
Major Christian holidays; Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas day and Boxing are official public holidays where the whole country celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christian families spend these holidays in their churches to commemorate these important dates in the Christian calendar whilst other Fijians flock to the nearest beaches during these holidays to spend family time with loved ones and friends. The air is filled with the smell of lovo (earth oven cooking) which is shared amongst family and friends on the day. This sharing is a true essence of Fiji.
Eid the Muslim festival celebrating Ramadhan is observed by the Muslim community after a month of fasting. At the end of the month, the community celebrates Eid with much delight. Hindus and Fijians are invited by their Muslim brothers and sisters to a bowl of sawai and plates of sweets. This is the beauty about living in Fiji!
Beauty pageants have become cultural heritage festivals in Fiji. The Bula Festival marks the week-long fun fare in the western division whilst the Hibiscus Festival boasted to be the ‘Mother of All Festivals’ in the South Pacific has delighted families, the young and old for 59 years in Suva, Fiji’s capital.
These festivals and holidays capture the true community spirit of diverse Fiji with two distinct yet very similar cultures bound by a national pride and unity.