Ah Fiji … just saying the name conjures up images of sun, sand, sea and lazy days away from the everyday. Here are a few facts about Fiji that you may not know…
- Fiji is an island nation with over 300 islands and approximately 110 of these are inhabited. There is no single island called Fiji.
- The International Date Line runs through Fiji’s island of Taveuni, where you can stand with one foot in today, and the other in yesterday or tomorrow!
- Fiji has six native land mammals, all of which are bats, including the Fiji monkey-faced bat and Fijian blossom bat, which eat only fruit; and the Polynesian sheath-tail bat and Fijian mastiff bat, which both also eat insects.
- The Fijian ‘sulu’ (also known as pareu, lavalava or sarong) is Fiji’s most distinctive and versatile form of dress and there are at least ten different ways a sulu can be worn by a woman, including as evening wear!
- Over 330,000 Aussies departed for a Fiji holiday in 2014/15, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- In Fijian villages, only the chief can wear hats and sunglasses. The top of the head is sacred, and you should never pat or touch a Fijian’s head.
- Fijians have been named ‘The Happiest People on Earth’. A 2014 global survey found that Fiji’s people are the happiest of any nation, with a whopping 93 percent of Fijians answering they were either “happy” or “very happy” with their lives, and expected to be happy in the future!
- You’ll find the delicious, traditional Fijian dish ‘kokoda’ (pronounced kokonda) on just about every menu. It’s a marinated raw fish (usually mackerel) generally prepared with lime juice, chillies, onions and coconut milk.
- The Fijian greeting ‘bula’ is translated as ‘life’ and is liberally offered by Fijians as a joyous means of conveying everything from hello and how are you to welcome, and bidding farewell. Make sure you offer it heartily in return!