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The Mamanuca Island group Image: iStock
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!
Traditional bure in Navala village, Viti Levu island, Fiji Image: iStock