Fiji Events and Festivals: Explore the Vibrant Celebrations

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Diwali Fiji lIghting the colourful candles

Fiji is loaded with festivals and celebrations to delight and inspire you. Flamboyant cultural festivals are held throughout the year, many of which are Hindu festivals put on by the Fijian-Indian community. Experience the week-long carnival-type festivals in Nadi, Suva, and Lautoka, or for something more cultural head to Savusavu or Levuka. There are 10 public holidays in the Fijian calendar, some of which feature traditional dance and other public displays. Yachting regattas and music festivals are also popular, and there are regular rugby, golf, and surfing tournaments. Whether you’re into music, culture, or sport, you’ll easily find an event…

Monthly Calendar of ALL the Annual Festivals in Fiji

Please take note that the dates of these festivals do change each year, so please check out the Events Calendar above. We update this section each day with all the festivals and events happening across Fiji. This is a general guide based on the past dates of these festivities.

There are four very similar festivals that cover the full breath of Fiji throughout the year: the Hibiscus Festival in Suva, the Bula Festival in Nadi, the Festival of the Friendly North in Labasa, and the Lautoka City Sugar Festival. Each is a community celebration of the cultural significance of that particular area; the festival normally comprises of market stalls, street parades, sporting events, and a closing beauty pageant to wrap up the yearly event.

8 Culturally Significant Festivals in Fiji

  1. Festival of the Friendly North – (September – October) Location: Labasa
  2. Diwali (Festival Of Lights) – (October – November) Location: Nationwide
  3. Bula Festival – (JulyLocation: Nadi
  4. Holi (Festival Of Colours) – (MarchLocation: Nationwide
  5. Fiji Day (Celebration Of Independence) – (October) Location: Nationwide
  6. Lautoka Sugar Festival – (September) Location: Lautoka City
  7. Hibiscus Festival (A Beauty Pageant) –  (August) Location: Suva
  8. South Indian Fire-Walking Festival – (August) Location: Suva

March – Holi (Festival of Life, Love, and Colours)


Fiji Events - Holi (Festival of Life, Love, and Colours)
Fiji Events – Holi (Festival of Life, Love, and Colours) | Image: Supplied

The Holi celebration, also known as the Festival of Love and the Festival of Colours, is held in February or March each year. The celebration has been a part of Fiji ever since the first indentured labourers came to Fiji, and over the decades, the festival has spread across different communities, schools, and workplaces and become a national celebration, enjoyed by all Fijians. The Hindi Festival is a wonderful unifier, bringing people together irrespective of their differences and reconciling relationships by forgiving and forgetting past indiscretions.

Throughout the day, people gather with their neighbours or with complete strangers at various parks or street venues in the main towns and cities and throw buckets of water and brightly coloured powders at each other with the sounds of singing and dancing accompaniments, creating memorable and Instagrammable opportunities at every turn.

The colours of the powders each have a unique symbolism: red symbolises love and fertility; blue represents Krishna, a Hindu god; green represents new beginnings; and yellow represents turmeric, a powder native to India.

July – Bula Festival


The Bula Festival Young Fijian Ladies dancing
The bula Festival Young Fijian Ladies dancing | Image: Supplied

The Bula Festival, held typically in the month of July each year, celebrates the multi-cultural history and heritage of the nation with an amalgamation of events across a week-long festival. This includes showcasing homegrown local artists, musicians, and dancers, an elaborately decorated float parade from locals and small businesses, and concluding with a grand beauty pageant where Miss Bula is crowned.

The event is held across two parks on the boundaries of Nadi Town: Koroivolu Park and Prince Charles Park. Lines of stalls home to local mouth-watering foodsters and small trinket stalls line the boundaries of the park, with the main events and activities occupying the central hub. This family-styled festival allows you to intermingle with the Fijian people in a safe and energetic environment, bringing locals and tourists together.

A large percentage of the funds created through the event are given to local charities designated that year by the board of directors. This allows the spirit of the festival to be seen throughout the year through the lens of the chosen charity.

July – South Indian Fire-Walking Festival


South Indian Firewalking Festival takes place at Suva Point between July and August
South Indian Firewalking Festival takes place at Suva Point between July and August | Image: Supplied

There are two very similar fire walking ceremonies in Fiji: the Fijian Indigenous ‘Vilavilairevo’ and the Hindu South Indian fire walking festival held in Suva each year at the Mariamma Temple. Although the rituals are very similar, there is a huge contrast in their historical origins.

The ‘Vilavilairevo’ fire walking ceremony, literally meaning ‘jumping into the oven’, originated from the island of Beqa, a ceremony that symbolised a right of passage for the firewalkers, who, in preparation for this significant day in their lives, had to abstain from sex, fasting, and other local cultural acts preceding the event.

Today, you can experience the ‘Vilavilairevo at many of the larger hotels. It has become a major tourist attraction and is performed in many resorts around Fiji. The authenticity and experience of the ritual have been maintained, and if you are unable to be in Fiji to watch the Mariamma Temple Fire Walking Ritual in the months of July or August, you should inquire about the Fijian Indigenous Fire Walking Ceremony, as this is a cultural experience that should be on everybody’s list of activities.

The Mariamma Temple Fire Walking Ritual Ceremony is a sensory experience like no other. The ceremony for the worshippers lasts between three and ten days. During this period, they would cleanse themselves and meditate with the goddess Maha Devi. They would also abstain from sex and restrict their intake of meat for the duration.

The visual spectacle of the firewalk takes place on the final day and coincides with the full moon in late July and early August. The worshippers would gather at Suva Point to bathe in the sea and smear yellow turmeric across their faces to protect them from disease. From here, they would make a three-kilometre walk, skip, and dance to the temple, typically in the early afternoon.

Upon arriving at the temple, a hot bed of burning coals would await them, with a statue of Maha Devi placed alongside the pit to watch over the ceremonies. For each worshipper, they would have to walk across the coals five times in order to achieve a balanced life.

August – Hibiscus Festival


Hibiscus Festival at Albert Park in Suva -2015.
Hibiscus Festival at Albert Park in Suva -2015 | Image: Supplied

The Hibiscus Festival started in 1956, going from a one-day event in central Suva to the nine-day event we see today. The event is like the bigger sister of the Bula Festival held in Nadi a few weeks prior. You will probably find several of the stalls that operated at the Bula festival set up and established here in the capital. This community celebration brings together traditional music, food stalls, float parades, sporting activities, dance competitions, and much more from across Viti Levu, with the crowning of the Hisbiscus Queen on the closing evening.

The home of this festival for over 50 years was Albert Park, opposite the government building, the Fiji Museum, and the Grand Pacific Hotel. After major renovations of the grounds at Albert Park. The festival was homeless for a few years, with several temporary venues becoming available.

The Hibiscus Festival, now known as the Vodafone Hibiscus Festival, is a fun-filled week for the entire family to celebrate the different cultures and the diversities that bind the capital.

September – Lautoka City Sugar Festival


Vodafone Sugar Festival 2018 Queen Contestants Miss Formscaff Miriam Andrea Manisha Raju (left), Miss Daniel Signs Salote Taleaua, Miss Lautoka City Council Piyal Prasad, Miss Bargain Box Fiji Ltd Faith Jedidah, Miss Lautoka Market Vendors Association Seini Vukivuki, Miss Harmony Security Talilagi Soumalo Delailoa, Miss Transtec Fiji Ltd Nilishka Karishma, Miss Laser Electric Ltd Prinal Priyanka Ram andand Miss Wilderness Amusement N Rides Miss Doreen Divya pose for a photo in Lautoka.
Vodafone Sugar Festival 2018 Queen Contestants | Image: Supplied

In September of each year, the residents and visitors to Lautoka City come together to celebrate the history and unique connection the residents have with the sugar industry. With a large percentage of the population in Lautoka being Hindu, the Indo-Fijian influence is prevalent, and the city is still the central hub of the sugar cane industry to this day. The week-long celebration is centred around dance, live music, rides, stalls, and the crowning of the Sugar Queen and King.

September – Festival of the Friendly North


Miss Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North 2023
Miss Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North 2023 | Image: Supplied

The Friendly North Festival, held in Labasa Town each year, has been running for over 40 years, with the proceeds and monies earned going to support community services around the town. The festival includes a street parade, delicious local food stalls, daily activities, and a beauty pageant where local young ladies come to compete for the prestigious title of Queen of the North.

October –  Diwali (A festival of light and new beginnings)


Diwali Fiji lighting the colourful candles
Diwali Fiji lighting the colourful candles | Image: Supplied

Diwali is one of the most memorable festivals of the year held across Fiji, with the traditional celebrations of lighting the diyas and the exchanging of gifts and sweets among close friends and families. With the festival being a national holiday, all faiths and communities come together to celebrate with fireworks, family parties, and a variety of cultural events.

You will notice that homes are ablaze with decorative lights, and resorts and businesses are hanging colourful decorations across their entrances to celebrate the bonds of love and the shared spiritual communal harmonies across the islands.

If you are in Fiji during this time, this visual spectacle will remain with you for a long time. The festival is such a significant cultural event that several celebratory postage stamps have been released over the years to commemorate the occasion. (Thumbnails below)

Diwali Stamp
Diwali 15 cent Postage Stamp
Diwali Postage Stamp

October – Fiji Day


Waving Flag Fiji during a sunset
Waving Flag Fiji – Fiji Day Festivals Celebrations | Image: Supplied

Each year on the 10th of October, a week-long festival of events across Fiji comes to a conclusion, as on this day in 1970, Fiji gained its independence from British colonial rule. Across all the towns and cities, local events and festivals are organised, from street parades to military processions to historic speeches and ceremonies.

There is something for everybody, with the calendar bursting with events and social occasions, so if you are in Fiji at this time, on most evenings and afternoons, you will have several event options to choose from. Expect to see thousands of small flags being waived on this day, as the people of Fiji are extremely proud of this nation they call home.

Further Reading: History of the National Flag and the Royals–12 Iconic Memories of Past Visits to Fiji

December – Christmas


Fiji Festivals - Christmas Tree Lighting
Fiji Festivals – Christmas Tree Lighting | Image: Supplied

Christmas in Fiji is a celebration of togetherness, uniting all the different faiths, with churches across the islands holding special services on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. With the wonderful sounds of choirs, performances, and navitity plays being heard across the different towns, this is a wonderful time when all the family comes together over a big feast, where you can relax and enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones. There are activities and events across the nation, and it is a wonderful time to come to Fiji to experience a memorable cultural experience while on holiday.

December – New Years Eve Party On The Beach


New Years Party at Vomo Island FIji
New Years Party at Vomo Island Fiji | Image: Supplied

Fiji has to be one of the best places to visit during the new year, with all the major resorts holding seasonal events and festival parties that bring everyone together. The calendar is always bursting with events and activities for all ages.  The locals across the main towns and cities celebrate with street parties, fireworks, and dance parties on the beach, with the nightclubs open until the early hours of the morning for the die-hard partygoers who wish to see in the early hours.

What a wonderful start to any year! waking up in paradise

References

  • Fiji Government (2022, March 27). Holi brings people together PM Bainimarama. Fiji Government. Retrieved September 27, 2023, from Link
  • IT (2019, January 1). Festivals in Fiji. Intrepid Travel. Retrieved September 27, 2023, from Link
  • [Social Plug – Fiji]. (2020, October 16). Fiji Independence Day – Then & Now [Video]. Youtube. Link
  • TA (2018). The Bula Festival [Photograph]. Turtle Airways. Link
  • Unknown (2023). The Firewalking Festivals 2023: Hindu Purification and Devotion in Fiji [Photograph]. Aeroports. Link