Anyone that has travelled to the beautiful islands of Fiji can attest not only to their natural beauty, but also to the beauty of the Fijian people, both inside and out. Fijian residents are among the happiest and friendliest people on the planet, and combined with their sense of national pride, you’ll not only enjoy the culture, but be treated to one of the most hospitable and extraordinary vacations of your life. If you are planning to visit Fiji, you can also plan on falling in love with the smiling faces of its residents – here are a few reasons why:
“Happiness Lives Here”
A popular mantra in Fiji is “Happiness Lives Here,” and for good reason. In 2014, WIN/Gallup International conducted a poll on the outlooks of people around the world and found the people of Fiji to be the happiest people on Earth. According to the poll, 93 percent of Fijians said that they were happy or very happy with their lives. They are always cheerful with a permanent smile on their faces, which seems only natural when you live in a country as beautiful as Fiji.
Not only are Fijians happy, but they are also some of the friendliest people you will have the pleasure of meeting. Fijian people are dedicated to having meaningful interactions with their community, which leads to a strong influence on how they interact with those outside of their community as well. Traditional Fijian way of life is based on communal principles that originated from village life and have carried through into the modern-day culture of Fiji as they work together to make sure no member of the community goes hungry or uncared for. They embody happiness not just from doing things with others, but also from doing things for others.
Research has shown that social cohesion among communities improves happiness among individuals. Fijian people are always ready to greet others with a welcoming “Bula,” which means hello in Fijian. They are hospitable, approachable and will make a connection with anyone they come in contact with. Spend any amount of time with a cheery smiling Fijian, and chances are you will find yourself smiling too.
A study found that among the strongest characteristics of happy people were those who showed “strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.” Fijians are taught from an early age that family is the most important thing in life, which is evident as their lives are centered on family and community.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are likely to live in the same neighborhood, increasing the quality of relationships and time spent together. Children are taught to value human beings and to understand and support the people around them. This strong family unit is a respected aspect of the Fijian way of life that clearly contributes greatly to the friendly and happy attitudes you see.
Multi-Cultural Identity and Pride
Fiji has a unique multicultural identity made up of indigenous Fijian, Indo-Fijian, Asian and European traditions. Although the Fijian culture is made up of so many influences, they share a common way of life in a society that has evolved and has come together to form a unique identity that reflects in their traditions and in daily life.
Fijian culture is a vibrant mosaic composed of diverse multicultural traditions and rituals. Rituals such as Fijian fire walking ceremonies or the Kava (traditional Fijian drink) ceremony are vital aspects of the Fijian culture and obvious sources of pride. The Kava ceremony, in particular, is a central part of their culture and a much loved and respected custom.
Music is an integral part of Fijian culture with traditional songs and dance woven into daily life. The Meke is a traditional style of dance that is typically performed during celebrations and festivals. It combines vibrant costumes with traditional song and dance to tell legends, love stories, and history of the Fiji islands. Dancing and listening to music actually releases dopamine, a feel good chemical of the brain, so it easy to see how these facets of the Fijian way of life complement the happiness found among the people
Fijian people invest time into the food they prepare. Food has a way of bringing people together and in Fiji this is no exception. In Fijian markets you’ll find a colorful array of fruits, vegetables and spices that Fijians creatively combine to create dishes that full of flavor and happiness.
Fijians come together to have the traditional ceremony called Lovo in which a wonderful feast is cooked in the earth. A hole is a dug 2 feet into the ground lined with fire-heated stones and wood; then it is filled with meat, fish and vegetables and covered with banana leaves or coconut stalks. After about two hours, this traditional smoky feast is ready to enjoy. Fijians will always allow their guests to take the first bite of a meal before eating themselves – another example of Fijian hospitality.
On “Fiji Time”
Fiji, as most of the South Pacific Islands, operates on it’s own slow tempo. There is never a rush; Fijians enjoy life at their own pace. They get things done in their own way and in their own time without worry of deadlines or stress. Island living has a way of slowing life down so that people can enjoy the beauty that surrounds them. Fijians clearly know how to soak up the sun and truly appreciate the time they have been given on this Earth.