Fun Facts About Fiji For Kids

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020 by Travels with Kids

We loved our time in Fiji, it is a gorgeous group of islands with white sand beaches, palm-fringed, and turquoise blue waters.  It truly is a South Pacific Paradise.  While in Fiji with our children, we learned some really fun facts about Fiji for kids, which we will share here.

Also, if you are researching a Fiji family holiday make sure to check out our Fiji Destination page.  We offer lots of great Fiji travel information including the best Fiji resorts for families and more.

Facts about Fiji for Kids
Paradise on Mana Island Fiji

Fun Facts About Fiji For Kids

Fiji Is Not Just One Island

Fiji consists of 330 islands spread over a 1.3 million square kilometer area. This is known as an archipelago.  The biggest island is Vitu Levu, and the smallest island only .02 kilometers and is a coral reef that barely sticks up out of the ocean.

Out of the 330 islands, only 110 are inhabited.  The two main islands make up for 87% of the population!  Now that is a great Fiji fun fact!

Fun Facts about Fiji for Kids - an iguana
Papa with a local Iguana

The Iguana Is Fiji’s National Animal

Its official name is the Fiji Banded Iguana.  This is a bright green, scaley lizard that is only found in the Fijian islands.  The male iguana usually has light green or blue stripes along their bodies but the female is usually solid green.  These lizards are mainly herbivores, which means they eat plants, flowers, fruits.  Did you also know the Fiji Banded Iguana is arboreal, which means it spends nearly all it’s life in trees? 

Other animals are native to Fiji like geckos, snakes, and iguanas.  However, the only native mammals are fruit bats including the Fijian Monkey-Faced Flying Fox.

How Did Fiji Get Its Name

Well, it is said that Fiji got its’ name when Captain Cook asked the Tongans what the name of the islands to the west of Tonga was called.  The Tongans told him the island was called “Viti” but Captain Cook heard it as “Fisi” or “Fiji” and the name stuck.

So Fiji is partly a made-up name or a name that came to be because of Captain Cook hearing it incorrectly.  However, Fiji is a pretty cool name if you ask us.

Was The Disney Film Moana Set In Fiji – Now This Is True Fun Facts About Fiji 

Not exactly.  The Disney Film Moana is said to have been inspired by the entire region and several different Polynesian Islands and of course Fiji being one of them.  Moana’s boat is strikingly similar to a traditional Fijian boat, called a camakau.  The movie also has some traditional Fijian music in it.  So, though the movie wasn’t set in Fiji, it does include Fijian traditions and Fijian inspiration.

However, many films and tv shows have been filmed in Fiji.  Some films that have been shot in parts of Fiji are Castaway with Tom Hanks, The Blue Lagoon with Brooke Sheilds, Turle Oddessy, Survivor Australia, and Bachelor in Paradise.

Some Fijians Were Cannibals

Yes, one grim Fiji fact for kids is that the Fijians were cannibals.  At one point, Fiji was nicknamed “Canibal Island”.  So why did they eat other humans?  Well, cannibalism was practiced in many parts of the world.  The Fijian tribe’s members did it because of spiritual and ritual reasons.

Cannibalism stopped in Fiji around 1844 when Christian missionaries arrived at the islands and were horrified at what they saw.  As the missionaries spread Christianity around the islands, many Fijians began to worship a Christian God instead of the traditional Fijian Gods and the practice stopped.  Don’t worry, there are cannibalism is not practiced in Fiji today.

If  You Go To Fiji As A Tourist You Can Still Bring Home A Cannibal Fork

Yes, it is truly one of the most bizarre fun facts about Fiji.  The cannibal fork, or iculanibokola, was used by attendants during ritual feasts to feed individuals considered too holy to touch food.  Today you can buy a cannibal fork souvenir in Fiji.  A cannibal fork would truly be a one-of-a-kind Fiji souvenir.

Besides a cannibal fork you can get all kinds of other souvenirs in Fiji.  These include things like a Sula (which is a traditional Fijian Sorong), carved masks, drums, black pearls, and pottery.

Fiji Has A Large Indian Population

Today it is estimated that Fiji’s population is made up of about 38% of people from Indian descent.  They are called Indo-Fijians.

So how did they get to Fiji from India?  Well, many were brought over as indentured servants to work on Fiji’s sugarcane plantations during the British colonial rule of Fiji.  They were required to work for five years for the British colonialists.  Many were treated poorly and had to live and work in horrible conditions.

However, not all Indians came to Fiji as indentured servants.  Some came willingly as immigrants to build a new life in Fiji working for government officials and as tradesmen.  Over time, the Indian population in Fiji grew and influenced culture and food.

Some Fijians Can Walk On Fire (Fire Walkers)

Firewalking in Fiji is an old tradition that dates back 500 years ago.  Legend has it that a young man from the village of Nakarovu went out to search for an eel as a present to one of his elders.  The young man did not find an eel but instead found a tiny man, a spirit god.  The deal was that if the young man let the tiny man live, that the tiny man would give him the gift to control fire, allowing him to walk on the hot stones.

Today firewalking is a sacred tradition.  If you visit Fiji you can witness one of these ancient firewalking ceremonies in person.

Fijis Recent Political History Is Pretty Hot

Hot and colorful as in full of military and civilian coups.  The first military coups occurred in 1987 over concerns that the government was being dominated by the Indian community. A civilian coup occurred in May 2000, followed in  2006 in a military coup led by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who subsequently became the interim prime minister. However, Bainimarama has refused to hold democratic elections.  Then the Court of Appeal ruled that the Bainimarama government was illegal and a new constitution was formed.  The country then held a general election and elected the Bainimarama party.

The National Dish Of Fiji Is Like Ceviche

Not really.  Similar to ceviche Kokoda is a fish marinated in citrus juices.  Made with Mahi Mahi or any other freshly caught local fish, it is mixed with coconut cream, onions, tomatoes, and chilis.  The locals love this spicy dish and its served in a super festive way: in a large clamshell or coconut shell.  It’s considered the national dish of Fiji.

Other food to try in Fiji when is Fiji is Duruka (Fijian asparagus), taro root, roti (Indian flatbread), and fish suruwa (fish curry).  You can see the Indian influence in foods like roti and fish suruwa.  We love fun facts about Fiji and food!

Fiji Is One Of The Only Countries In The World With 3 Official Languages

Yes, one of the most interesting Fiji fun facts is that Fiji has 3 official languages.  They are English, ITaukei and Hindi.

Most Fijians speak English and British English is even taught in schools.  This makes it easy for tourists and people traveling to Fiji to communicate with locals in the stores and markets.

iTaukei is the language spoken by native Fijians, the islands indigenous people.  Hindi is the language spoken by the Fijians of Indian descent which we mentioned earlier.  This is a great Fiji fun fact! Can you speak any of the Fiji official languages?

Fijians Are Mad About Their National Sport, Rugby Union

Rugby is the most popular sport in Fiji and Fijians take their rugby very seriously.  The Fiji National Rugby Union men’s team represents Fiji every four years in the Rugby World Cup.  The Fiji National Rugby Union team is made up of mostly indigenous Fijians who speak iTaukei which naturally excluded many of the Indo-Fijians.  Indigenous Fijians are typically more drawn to rugby while Indo-Fijians are traditionally more involved in football (soccer).

There are also many Fijians that play for rugby teams around the world.  Many of these Fijians play rugby in Europe or the Super Rugby League.

Conclusion – Fun Facts About Fiji For Kids

Fiji is a very interesting South Pacific archipelago and there are many interesting Fiji facts for kids.  Not only is Fiji an amazing family-friendly destination, but it also has a very interesting and history.  We loved our family vacation to Fiji and were intrigued by all the fun facts about Fiji.  If you were as intrigued as were were, check out our Top Things To Do In Fiji For Kids post here.

Do you think that there is another Fun fact about Fiji that would be a great addition to this page?  Please let us know if there is an important Fiji fun facts for kids that we have missed!

Want to learn more about Fiji? Check out these great books about Fiji for kids on Amazon.  Click each one for current prices.

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Fun Facts About Fiji For Kids

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