Fijian Culture

Communication

Verbal

  • Swearing: Swearing is not common in Fiji. It usually only comes from those who have had a lot of Western exposure.
  • Soft Voices: Fijians tend to speak at a softer volume and with a calm tone. It’s uncommon to hear someone raise their voice because they are emotional. People usually only shout to signal and catch someone’s attention across the street, and not in conversation.


Non-Verbal

  • Head: The head is considered to be the most sacred part of the body. Therefore, it is inappropriate to touch someone else’s. Do not pat or stroke anyone’s head – including children.
  • Eye Contact: Fijians tend to hold eye contact quite intensely.
  • Physical Contact: Fijian women tend to be relatively comfortable touching one another. However, apart from that, there is generally no physical contact between people during interactions. It is generally considered inappropriate for couples to show public displays of affection (especially outside of urban areas).
  • Beckoning: Beckoning is done by facing the palm of the hand to the ground and waving the fingers towards yourself. Individual fingers should not be used.
  • Pointing: Avoid pointing to people with your index finger, but gesture with your open hand instead.
  • Feet: One’s feet should not be pointed at the chief of a village or a kava bowl at a ceremony.
  • Agreement: One raising their eyebrows casually signifies “Yes”.

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