Fiji as a whole was like an experience out of a dream… everything about our time there blew us away. From the authenticity of the people, to the richness of culture, to the depth of the traditions, to the absolute unparalleled beauty of the country, we were and still are in awe.  There are so many parts of our journey and Phil & Matha’s celebration that I want to share but for now I’m going to start here.

The day of “Siga ni Sosoi Yau” (collecting of the gifts)

This is one of the many traditions we had the fabulous opportunity to take part in, and it is exactly what it says it is: a day with your family collecting the gifts from your loved ones who travel from afar to celebrate, drinking kava (the roots of the plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties), re-uniting and enjoying a day of  story telling, laughter, eating, and bonding.

The day begins early (around 6am), when the men and boys gather in the lush green area behind the house to begin the Lovo (a way to cook food in the ground with stones, coal, wood, palm leaves, and tarps).  You will notice there is a cute pig in a few images below… let me just say this: there used to be two.  In the Lovo, the pig is cut into large pieces (legs, head, split torso) and wrapped in palm leaves, along with whole chickens and lots of Taro and Cassava root, to be cooked along side the pork.  They prep it all, put it in the Lovo, and begin the drinking of the Kava.  Meanwhile, the ladies are in the kitchen preparing massive amounts of traditional food that will be served as well.  They too will spend hours together chit chatting, laughing, prepping, and welcoming the family and friends as they arrive with the gifts and join in where they are needed.

Once the ladies are done with their portion of the prep work, they move into the living to examine the mats.

Side note:

Western Gifts: pillows, blankets, quilts, mosquito nets etc

Traditional Fijian gifts: mats(can be seen below), mass, whales teeth, pigs, root crops (taro)

The mats are like gold to Fijians (at least this is what we were told several times by the locals): they use them for everything and special ones are made for the wedding celebration.  They are more detailed, colorful and ornate and often there are a few with the family name of the Bride and the Groom.  So after the ladies have done their portion of the food preparation, it’s time to organize the mats, decide what order they will be laid out in, and which ones will be kept and which ones will be given as gifts.

(I also want to add that the Bride and Groom are separate for most of this ceremony, each with their own families for the last time as single people, for the next day is the BIG celebration.)

So we ate, drank, watched the traditions take place, and began to mentally prepare ourselves for the celebration that would follow the next day.  AMAZING.

To view more from this beautiful wedding, visit:

FijianWedding055FijianWedding015 FijianWedding001 FijianWedding002 FijianWedding003 FijianWedding004 FijianWedding006 FijianWedding005 FijianWedding010 FijianWedding012 FijianWedding013 FijianWedding014 FijianWedding018 FijianWedding007 FijianWedding008 FijianWedding016 FijianWedding017 FijianWedding019 FijianWedding020 FijianWedding022 FijianWedding023 FijianWedding025 FijianWedding026 FijianWedding027 FijianWedding028 FijianWedding029 FijianWedding031 FijianWedding033 FijianWedding032 FijianWedding030 FijianWedding037 FijianWedding036 FijianWedding035 FijianWedding009 FijianWedding038 FijianWedding039 FijianWedding041 FijianWedding040 FijianWedding043 FijianWedding044 FijianWedding051 FijianWedding047 FijianWedding048 FijianWedding046FijianWedding042 FijianWedding049 FijianWedding050 FijianWedding052 FijianWedding053 FijianWedding054