Fiji Independence Day (National Fiji Day): History, Life & Celebrations
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- 1 Fiji Independence Day (National Fiji Day): History, Life & Celebrations
- 2 About Fiji:
- 3 Fiji Independence Day: How was Fiji formed?
- 4 Fiji History: As a Britain Colony
- 5 Fiji Independence Day History
- 6 Fiji National Flag & Symbols
- 7 Fiji’s National Coat of Arms: What it symbolizes?
- 8 Fiji Independence Day Celebrations: Customs, Traditions & People
- 9 Fiji Independence Day: The Fiji Week
- 10 Independence Day in Fiji: Public Life
Happy Fiji Independence Day 2019! The lovely people of this lovely country will be celebrating their 49th Independence Day on October 10, 2019. This special day is a great source of pride and joy to all Fiji citizens, as it marks the end of dark clouds of colonialism.
Fiji Independence Day (also referred to as, the National Fiji Day) is celebrated annually on October 10. This day commemorates two special historical events in Fiji’s history:
- In 1874 on this day, Fiji Chiefs ceded to Great Britain
- Many years later, in 1970 on this same day, Fiji became an Independent nation, and its colonial status was abrogated
The National Fiji Day is a great source of pride and happiness to all Fiji nationals. On this day the dark clouds of colonialism were swept away and Fiji became an independent nation.
The Independence Day in Fiji is celebrated with utmost enthusiasm, zeal, and fervor. The whole nation comes together to celebrate Fiji Day. It’s the time of the year when everyone puts politics aside and celebrate the things that bind them together as Fijians. There are cultural dances, special independence day seminars, festivals, parades, and sports competitions on this day.
All Fijians celebrate this day together and express their true love to their nation, their love for God, and their true love for each other.
*Do you know? Uganda’s Independence Day comes a day before Fiji National Day
Fiji lies in the core of the Pacific Ocean halfway between the Equator and the South Pole and between longitudes 175 and 178 west and latitudes 15 and 22 south. Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone contains around 330 islands, of which around 33% are occupied. It covers around 1.3 million square kilometers of the South Pacific Ocean.
Fiji’s total land zone is 18,333 square kilometers. There are two main islands – Viti Levu is 10,429 square kilometers and Vanua Levu 5,556 square kilometers. Other principle islands are Kadavu (411 sq km), Taveuni (470 sq km), Gau(140 sq km), and Koro (104 sq km).
Fiji Independence Day: How was Fiji formed?
Fiji’s Independence Day history takes you back in 1643, when the region was first discovered by a Dutch Explorer – Abel Tasman. According to historians, the European discoveries of the Fiji group were accidental. Further explorations and discoveries were made in the 18th century by English navigators including Captain James Cook.
However, the major credit for the discovery and recording of the islands go to Captain William Bligh who cruised through Fiji after the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789.
The first Europeans to land and live among the Fijians were wrecked mariners and runaway convicts from the Australian penal settlements. Sandalwood merchants and missionaries dropped by the mid-nineteenth century.
Fiji History: As a Britain Colony
Fijians initially inspired themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in Tonga. They were depicted as impressive warriors and fierce cannibals, manufacturers of the best vessels in the Pacific, however not great sailors.
They propelled amazement among the Tongans, and all their manufactures, particularly bark-cloth and clubs, were profoundly regarded and much in demand. They called their home Viti, however, the Tongans called it Fisi, and it is by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first declared by Cook, that these islands are presently known.
After the explorers, many other Europeans followed. For over 50 years, Fijian culture enjoyed what has been called its ‘golden age’, as instruments and weapons brought by merchants were turned by resourceful chiefs to their own advantage.
Kayaks and houses were built, confederations shaped and wars battled on a great scale without precedent. Step by step and unavoidably, in any case, the Fijian lifestyle was evolving. As Christianity spread in the islands, wars stopped unexpectedly and western clothing was embraced.
After Fiji was surrendered to Great Britain in 1874, epidemics almost wiped out the population and it appeared as if the locals were doomed. But the colonial government took the Fijians side.
Land sales were made illegal, health campaigns implemented and the population picked up again. Theirs was not, obviously, the way of life of the heathen ‘golden age’, however, one changed by the new religion and increasingly the new economic order.
*Do you know? After Fiji National Day, A Equatorial Guinea independence day comes on October 12
Fiji Independence Day History
Fiji remained under colonial rule for 96 years (from 1874 – 1970). It became an independent sovereign state on 10th October 1970, when its colonial status was removed. The country started its brand new journey as an independent nation, and this was a moment of pride for all Fijians.
Prince Charles represented his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as Fiji’s National Flag was raised in the sunlight before a crowd of thousands.
Formally giving up British power for the Crown to which he is the heir, the uniformed Prince read a message from Queen Elizabeth reviewing how the Fijian chiefs had ceded the government of the islands to her great‐great‐grandmother, Queen Victoria, on Oct. 10, 1874 “in return for the protection which the Crown could afford you.”
At that time, travelers avoided Fiji as a notorious haunt of cannibals. In the years since the islands have become a tourist spot. “I am cheerful to address you as Queen of Fiji,” the Queen’s message said in respecting the new island state into the Commonwealth of Nations as a free independent dominion, with the same status as Canada.
“Nothing that is happening today can change the warm feeling of our people of Fiji for the Crown,” Fiji’s first Prime Minister, Chief Sir Kamisese Mara, declared in his response.
Fiji National Flag & Symbols
The National Flag of Fiji was officially adopted on October 10, 1970. It includes the red, white, and blue Union Flag of Britain on the upper left corner and the shield from the Fiji Coat of Arms on a light blue background.
The national flag envelops Fiji’s own pioneer legacy in the Union Flag with a mix of historical progression in the outline of the shield. Here’s what the symbols of Fiji’s National Flag represent:
The Union Jack (upper left) – country’s long association with Great Britain
Blue background – symbolic of the surrounding Pacific Ocean
The coat of arms – display a golden British lion holding a cocoa pod. Underneath it is the panels displaying a palm tree, sugar cane, bananas and dove of peace.
Fiji’s National Coat of Arms: What it symbolizes?
Fiji’s National Coat of Arms features images of two Fijian warriors on either side of the shield and the motto “Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tul” below the shield. These words mean “Fear God and honor the Queen.”
The shield from the coat of arms displays a golden British lion holding a cocoa pod. Underneath it is the panels displaying a palm tree, sugar cane, bananas and dove of peace.
Fiji Independence Day Celebrations: Customs, Traditions & People
The Fiji Day is celebrated every year on October 10. The day is a national holiday widely celebrated throughout the country. It’s marked with military parades, cultural dances, official speeches and ceremonies, and other festive events. Here’s how National Fiji Day Celebrations are done:
The Republic of Fiji celebrates its autonomy with a national holiday. The center of independence day celebrations is Caqalai Islands, the country’s capital. The celebrations start with a flag-raising ceremony, followed by a military parade including the gun-salute, and display of armories. Hundreds of Fijians including outside tourists as well, head out to the capital to enjoy the military parades and special performances.
After the military parade, there are special Fiji Nation Day seminars and speeches by government officials, where tribute is paid to those who worked for the nation’s freedom.
The Independence Day celebrations in Fiji are incomplete without the famous Fijian Meke – a traditional Fiji Dance. Hundreds of people enjoy Meke, which is a combination of dance and storytelling through age. The dancing and chanting are accompanied by rhythmic clapping and beating of the traditional Fijian drum.
Many Fijians enjoy this public holiday to the fullest, by going to recreational spots for a picnic with family and friends. Delicious Fijians dishes such as Kokoda, Lovo and Indian cuisines such as spice curries and dals are specially prepared for this important event.
Fiji Independence Day: The Fiji Week
During Fiji Week, which is the week going before Fiji Day, the country praises its solidarity and religious and social assorted variety with exhibitions and projects every day concentrated on the two fundamental ethnic societies — Fijian and Indian. The Christian, Muslim, and Hindu religions command their customs.
Independence Day in Fiji: Public Life
The Independence Day in Fiji is celebrated every year on October 10, with great enthusiasm and fervor. On this special day, the whole Fijian nation comes together to mark the anniversary of their independence. Everyone puts politics aside and celebrate the things that bind them together as Fijians.
A public holiday is observed on National Fiji Day. All governmental and non-governmental institutes, offices, school, and organizations remain closed on this important day.
Interesting Facts about Fiji
The Republic of Fiji is actually not just one beautiful island but an archipelago of around 333 islands and over 500 islets – only of which around 33% are occupied. All these islands are beautiful combinations of high mountain ranges, rainforests, and gorgeous sandy beaches. Read on to discover some unknown and interesting facts about Fiji:
- Fijians always greet someone with “Bula”, which means “Hello” – tourists in Fiji hear it everywhere
- Fiji’s main sources of earning are its thriving tourist industry and sugar exports. The abundance of minerals, fish, and forests, rank it among the topmost developed economies in the Pacific.
- There are little to no venomous snakes in the Fiji islands!
- Fijian girls are taught how to craft poetry, weave baskets and mats. While, boys are taught how to carve war clubs, spears, wooden forks, and kava bowls. These items are then sold to tourists.
- Lapita people were the original settlers of Fiji. They came to the islands around 5000 years ago and were originally Melanesians and Polynesians.
- Fijians were fierce cannibals who were known for their practice of eating their enemies and making human sacrifices! This is the reason why most of the travelers avoided Fiji during the early times of its discovery. The modern Fijians now regard those years as “na gauna ni tevoro” (the time of the devil).
- With the arrival of Christian missionaries, cannibalism began to wane in Fiji.
- Even in modern day Fiji, only the village chief is allowed to wear a hat and sunglasses!
- Rugby is a national obsession in Fiji
- The Fiji women love playing “veicaqemoli” (kick the orange). Played by two teams, the interesting thing about this game is that the winning team must give gifts of new garments to the members of the losing team – more incentive to lose than to win!
- Kava, or Yaqona, is Fiji’s national drink. Guests must clap before and after drinking from the dish! The drink is believed to have medicinal qualities and is widely used to treat: headaches, sore throats, cough, colds, and anxiety.
- Traditional Fiji meals include relishes, starches, and a beverage. The starches include sweet potatoes, yams, manioc, and taro. The relishes include leafy veggies, meat, fish, and seafood. The most famous beverage is hot tea with lemon leaves. Famous Fijian dishes are Kokoda, Lovo, Duruka, Nama, Taro.
- “Lovo” is the traditional cooking method in Fiji. Food is wrapped in palm fronds and banana leaves and boiled in an earthen pit lined with extremely hot stones.
- Many Fijians believe that coconuts have eyes. It’s an interesting Fijian superstition. Before starting a business or project, they sit under a coconut tree. If a coconut falls on you, you can expect bad luck!
Fiji National Anthem: “God Bless Fiji”
Fiji National Day: October 10, 1970
Fiji National Color: Light Blue
Fiji National Symbol: Fijian Canoe
Fiji Climate: Tropical Marine
*Do You Know? Fiji has the Earth’s Finest Water (OMG Fact)
Fiji has the Earth’s Finest Water. The country’s famous mineral water brand is FIJI, which is the number one imported bottled water in the United States and is enjoyed in over 60+ countries across the globe. This water is derived, bottled, and shipped from Fiji.
On a remote Pacific island, 1,600 miles from the nearest industrialized country, tropical exchange winds purify the cloud that starts FIJI Water’s journey through one of the world’s last virgin ecosystems. As tropical rain falls on a rainforest, it filters through layers of volcanic rock, gradually assembling the natural minerals and electrolytes that give FIJI Water its soft and smooth taste.
The water gathers in a natural artesian aquifer, far beneath the Earth’s surface, protected from outside elements by restricting layers of rock. Natural pressure forces the water towards the surface, where it’s bottled at the source, free from human contact until the point when you unscrew the cap. Untouched by man, FIJI is the Earth’s Finest Water!