Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year 2019

Chinese New Year 1

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Christmas Festivities

Fiji’s Christmas In Bloom

Fiji’s Postion in the southern hemisphere means that Christmas falls not in mid-winter, but at the tropical
summer. While Father Christmas, Christmas shopping and gift-giving are by no means absent in the urban centres,
nevertheless for most of the people of Fiji, Cjristmas is primarily a rekigious occasion. The period from just before
Christmas until well into the New Year is also when many urban Fijians make an effort to visit their villages, and there is a mass\
exodus from the towns to inland villages and distant islands, where old acquaintances are renewed, urban children are introduced
to their relations aand to traditionsl village life, and people experience anew the joys of catching land-crabs, yavirau
(communal scare-line fishing), and drinking yaqona(kava) and chatting into the small hours with friends and relatives.

This time of year is charcterised by plenty – breadfruit, plantains, mangoes, pineapples, kavika (Malay apple), dawa (Polynesian plum)
and other fruit abound, as do land-crabs and rock-crabs, mussels and other shellfish, jellyfish, and many other kinds of fish,
partucularly nuqa (rabbitfish) and kinds of goatfish such as ose ki, and cucu which are caught in reed fish-fences set in shallow waters in
many parts of Fiji.

This set of stamps features a number of plants that bloom around Christmas time, and are often used to decorate the vakatunuloa
(temporary structures) that house visitors to the villages, as well as the inside of the village church. So they correspond in a way
to the holly, ivy, and mistletoe of more temperate climes – though even the most impartial observer would have to concede that these tropical
yuletide flowers have the edge in terms of colour!

Fiji Christmas Bush, nuqanuqa (Decaspermum vitiense, Myrtaceae)

The nuqanuqa (also widely known as nuqa, and niqwa in parts of Westen Fiji) is a moderate sized tree found at the edge of the forest,
particularly in dry, rocky places, and also cultivated. It is endemic to Fiji, and as small round pointed leaves which give off a pleasant smell
when crushed,small black berries, and small white fragrant flowers. The nuqanuqa is also medicinal; an infusion of its leaves, with the leaves
of certain other plants, is said to cure diabetes, the bark makes apoultice for piles, and an infusion of its root, with root of vobo (see below),
is said to cure cervical and breast cancer. The Fijian name of this plant, nuqa, has been extended to kinds of rabbitfish (Siganidae) that
are in season when the plant flowers, and the name is also found in the world vakasenuqanuqa, literally ‘making the nuqa bloom’,
the name of a name traditional ceremony of thanksgiving to celebbrate the safe return of a chief from his or her travels, or
nowadays also the return of a football team or a choir from a competition or tour.

Sinukakala (Quisqualis indica, Combretaceae)

This climbing vine with smooth ovate leaves and long-stalked showy fragrant pink to red flowers is a favourite of suburban gardens and villages
throughout Fiji. It is a native of the Old World tropics as far east as Papua New Guinea, and may have been introduced to Fiji in the late nineteenth
century by the Governor John Bates Thurston, who was a keen horticulturalist, and after whom Fiji’s main botanical gardens in Suva are named.
On the other hand, the most widespread

Vobo (Mussaenda raiateensis, Rubiaceae)

The vobo is a small tree of the forestmargins with small yellow flowers, and very conspicuous white leaves that surround the flowers, and are indeed considered by some botanists to be part of the flower itself. It is found in high islands through mcuh of the Pacific, from Vanatu to Tahiti. As its species name suggests, it was first described from the island of Ra’iatea, to the west of Tahiti in Easten Polynesia. It is said to have numerous medicinal uses – the root is said to be effective for fractures and piles, while the bark curves rheumatism. Other Fijian names are bovo (Verata and Koro) and bobo (Western Fiji)

Flamboyant Tree, Sekoula (Delonix regia, Caesalpiniaceae)

This is a medium sized spreading tree with very small paired fern- like leaves and long brown sabre-shaped pods, planted in villages and towns throughout Fiji. Apart from being popular as a shade tree, it is noted for its profusion of brilliant orange and red flowers, some with spashehes of yellow or white, whose appearance marks the onset of Christmas season. Unusually for a tropical tree, it is deciduous, shedding some or all of its leaves in the cool season. A native of Madagascar, it was probably introduced to Fiji in the mid-nineteenth century. Other English names heard in Fiji are ‘flame tree’ and ‘poinciana’. The Standard Fijian name, sekoula, translates as ‘ golden flower’, and the name in Rotuma is riopripo or lioplipo

Christmas 2008: A Celebration in Song

Even though nearly half of the population of Flji is not Christian, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are public holidays, and Christmas is celebrated in some way by aft segments of the population.

While all Christian denominations include choral music as part of their liturgy, none emphasise it to the same extent as the Wesleyan Methodist Church (Lotu Weseh), which was historically the first denomination to bring Christianity to Fiji, and still today commands the allegiance of some four-fifths of the indigenous Fijian population. Indeed, the annual Methodist Choir Competition, which takes place along with a bazaar before the annual Conference (Koniveredi), is the single largest gathering of indigenous people in Fiji, and looked forward to by Fijians, Rotumans and other ethnic groups from every corner of the archipelago. For many in rural areas and remote islands, it is their only trip to the capital city Suva, where it is usually held, and they will save every penny during the year to be able to splash out on boat fares and a colourful and elegant choir uniform, and to buy handicraft or sample the culinary delights that other participants bring with them to sell.

Wesleyan Methodism was introduced to the island of Lakeba, in the Lau Islands of eastern Fiji, by Reverends David Cargill and William Cross, in 1835.They had ~ preceded by three Tahitian missionaries of the London Missionary Society, who had had limited success, and a number of the Tongans who regularly visited Lakeba and the Lau Group had also become Methodists and had introduced some concepts and practices of the new lotu (Christianity).

It was soon discovered the Fijians had a natural aptitude for singing. A particular style of polyphonic traditional chant was adapted to the new religion, and the earliest hymns, composed in the dialects of Lau and Somosomo, were sung in this style. Before long, it had become customary to chant the Fijian translations of the Te Deum, Apostles’ Creed and Litany from John Wesley’s abridgement of The Book of common Prayer in this sonorous and rhythmic polyphonic chanting style.The popularity of hymn-singing is evident in the fact that 4,000 Fijian hyrnnbooks were printed in 1843 – long before mass conversions to Christianity, and when very few Fijians could read.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, western style four-part harmony was introduced and quickly gained popularity, as Methodist missionaries translated standard English hymns into Fijian, and soon Fijians themselves were composing and adapting. As in other Pacific nations, the notation used was tonic sol-fa rather than staff notation, and this remains the most popular notation to this day. Gradually the traditional chanting style was lost, and now it is confined to singing the psalms, Fijianised as same, and in Lau the catechism (tare), usually chanted by women before the Sunday service.

It is jokingly said that, harmony at the drop of

Welsh people “break into four-part a hat”, and the same could justly be said of Fijians. Choir practice is probably the most widespread form of social activity, with the exception perhaps of kava drinking. National rugby teams (both fifteens and sevens) have become famous for singing melodious hymns of praise after games, in stark contrast to the traditional challenge or war dance (cibi) performed beforehand.

As illustrated in these stamps, there is a fairly rigid dress code, with men wearing isulu vakataga (tailored wraparound sarongs) and women isuluira and jaba (dress over ankle-length skirt), but a great variety of styles, colours and accessories. At Christmas, choirs

sing Fijian versions of well-known English carols, such as Bogi buts

(Silent night), So memela dina mat (Ding-dong merrily on high), No

ivakatawa era to), No ivakatawa era tu (While shepherds watched), Mai na koro i Tevita (Once in royal David’s city) and Keitou go no kilaka- (We three kings); and, of course, no Christmas would be complete without a resounding rendition of Aleluya – Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus!

Worldwide, Christmas is a very special time of the year. Fiji is no exception. Though small this island nation may be, it includes several of the world’s major religious groupings – Christians, Hindus, Muslims, as well as many minor groupings. While Christmas is primarily a Christian celebration, Muslims are aware of its significance; Hindus and the others are caught up in the atmosphere of celebration that characterises this time of the year.

Christmas 2019

Christmas 19

Christmas 20

Holy Family 4


Dawali 2019

Diwali 1

Hindu Festival

Diwali 2


Eid al Fitr
Eid 2019

Id Ul Fitar

Id Ul Fitar 1

Id Ul Fitar 2