By Kat Harrell, ISA New Zealand and Fiji Site Specialist
Just in case Fiji’s gorgeous beaches, warm climate, laid-back lifestyle, and welcoming locals are not enough to convince you that it’s the perfect study abroad destination, check out these amazing festivals that take place in the islands each year.
In late March or early April, head to Nadi for the Outrigger International Competition, an outrigger canoe race that brings together teams from across the South Pacific. Cheer on canoe teams—or runners in the Fiji Marathon that takes place around the same time—while soaking in the island city atmosphere.
In May, check out Fiji International Jazz and Blues Festival, with performers from New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and the Americas—as well as local Fijian groups—converging on Suva to celebrate the uniting power of music.
Also in Suva, check out another festival for music lovers—the recently created World Music Festival in June. Listen to traditional South Pacific music, rock, folk, reggae, and everything in between while taking in traditional and modern dance exhibitions. Artists from around the world have been taking the stage at this festival since it began in 2006.
For a week in July, enjoy Nadi’s Bula Festival with thousands of attendees from around the country. Check out concerts , traditional dancing, rides, and pageants, and help raise money for local charities. It’s also a great chance to check out tons of different types of Fijian foods.
The Hibiscus Festival held in Suva each August is similar to the Bula Festival, incorporating music, dance, beauty pageants, food, parades, carnival rides, and talent shows.
During October, celebrate with Fijian Hindus as they welcome the Hindu New Year with the Diwali Festival, known as “the festival of lights.” Enjoy the beautiful sparklers, fireworks, lamps, lanterns, and light displays, not to mention fantastic feasts and holiday sweets.
The Fijian celebration of Diwali is said to be even bigger than many celebrations in the holiday’s country of origin, India, as Fijians begin celebrating a week before the actual day. Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness, justice over injustice, and knowledge of ignorance.
These are just a sampling of the festivals that take place throughout the year on the island nation of Fiji. Learn more about the Fijian culture and find out more about how you can experience some of these festivals during a study abroad semester by contacting the ISA Fiji Site Specialist.