Culture at the Arts Village: Pacific Harbour’s Town Center
The Arts Village Cultural Center, offers a display of traditional Fijian Culture. From fire walking, to Fijian Dance and Singing, the venue is designed to preserve Fiji’s heritage. Located a 5 minute walk from the resort, here you can see the world famous Beqa fire walkers and watch traditional warriors fight for survival. The complex also has boutique & handicraft shops, a supermarket, doctors surgery, post office, bank & ATM’s, a few quaint eateries and an evening entertainment option as well.
Cultural Activities include:
- Traditional Fijian Dance and Fire Walking
- Ancient Village Tour
- Handicraft and Souvenirs
- Current Village Visits
- Kava Ceremonies within the resort
Arts Village Fire Walking & Meke Show
Where Culture Meets Heritage
Arts Village is located in Pacific Harbour and was previously known as the Fiji Cultural Center. It is a place for entertainment and experiencing the life styles, hospitality and the customs of indigenous Fijians. With a mixture of tranquility and a dash of the local flavor, Arts Village is renowned for its unique setting.
While at Arts Village, be sure to take the Island Boat Tour, the Island Temple Tour and watch the Arts Village Cultural show. Board a traditional canoe where the journey will take you on a tour of discovery of Ancient Fijian life. Traditional warriors who will row you around the lagoon and you will have the opportunity to taste the local cuisine and meet the villagers. Prepare to be humbled as you step inside the largest and the most authentic ancient temple in Fiji known as the ‘Burekalou‘
Hot Foot, Jump Back, Ow!…
Witness the ancient fire walking on your visit to Arts Village. The practice of fire walking was originated on the island of Beqa which is only a few kilometers off the main island of Viti Levu. This religious ceremony is believed to be quite ancient and often requires great strength and discipline of the mind, body and spirit to perform the ritual.
The Beqa Village that performs fire walking has kept this religious and art form all to its own. They teach no outsiders, not even other Fijians. Walking on fire is certainly a case of mind over matter; we suggest you put in your mind that you make it matter to see these unrivaled performers. It’s hot stuff!
Nectar of the Gods? Not Quite, But it Does Pack a Wallop!
It is always interesting to be taking part in a traditional Kava drinking ceremony while you are in Fiji. All the villages around the islands are extremely communal based and the houses are generally located just meters away from each other. Kava is the main drink when there are popular functions such as weddings, family gatherings or even at funerals. The Kava drink also signifies a form of welcome in events and villages.
Kava (also called “grog” or “yaqona”) is made from the pounded root of a pepper plant but does not have the spicy flavor. It does on the other hand produce a temporary numbing sort of effect for a while in your mouth. After a few bowlfuls, or maybe even one for the uninitiated, you will feel a slightly happy sensation followed by a relaxed and peaceful state.
In Fiji, Kava is consumed by both men and women. So as a guest here, you will frequently be invited to participate in one of these common ceremonies and social customs. It is also regarded as the “National Drink” of Fiji.
Here are some of the few Kava Drinking etiquettes that you should know when participating in a formal ceremony:
- When entering a village always bring a gift of kava root which can be bought from the local market.
- Men and women should be dressed appropriately and decently.
- Everyone must sit and remain seated during the ceremony.
- You are allowed to take photographs but it is always respectful to get consent first.
- The ceremony then begins as the villagers grind up the Kava and strain it through a cloth bag into a large wooden bowl called a ‘tanoa’ in local dialect placed in the middle of the room.
- Then the village’s executive head drinks the Kava before it is offered to the rest of the room.
- After that it is shared with everyone.
- The men drink first and then the women.
- Clap once with a cupped hand making a hollow sound
- Say Bula!
- Drink in one gulp
- Clap three times.
The More Things Change, the More Things Stay the Same
Experience the life of a Fijian villager as you venture out to any one of possible dozen or so villages where the locals regularly accept visitors around Pacific Harbor. You could also set out to visit the villages that are along the Navua River where you would be able to spend a whole day with the local people; partake and enjoy in their daily life style.
First you will have a small welcoming function with the chief of the village and it is here you will get to join in a traditional kava drinking ceremony. After the ceremony you will get a tour around the village. Most villages still have traditional Bures (Thatched houses) which is a nice attraction. Be known that villages all around Fiji have rules and regulations that need to be followed by individuals who enter the village. These rules are simple and easy to take heed of. They are:
- Wearing hats, shorts and shoes (inside a room) is felt to be disrespectful.
- Women must keep their shoulders covered and wear a skirt or sulu.
- It is also important to note that one must speak in a low pitch and soft voice.
- Never touch someone’s head when you are in the village, especially that of a villager.