Welcome to the ultimate survival guide for navigating the wild and wonderful world of a Fijian family function. Whether you’re a seasoned local or a first-time attendee, these tips will help you navigate the chaos, the food, and the endless rounds of kava with your sanity (mostly) intact.


1. The Invitation

When you receive an invitation to a Fijian family function, know that it’s less of an invitation and more of a commandment. You’re expected to be there, no excuses. Bubu’s 85th birthday, your cousin’s lakovi ceremony, or just a random Sunday gathering – it doesn’t matter. You’re going.


UrbanNesian - Fijian Masi, Samoan Tatau, and Samoan Siapo...

2. Arrive on Fiji Time

Forget everything you know about punctuality. “Fiji Time” is a flexible concept. If the function is at 3 PM, showing up at 4 PM is perfectly acceptable, and you’ll probably still be early. However, do not use this as an excuse to be late for the food. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on the lovo.


Nothing wrong with running on Fiji Time.. | Fiji honeymoon, Fiji time,  Beautiful fiji

3. Master the Art of the Bula

Your “Bula” game needs to be strong. This cheerful greeting is your key to winning hearts. Say it with a big smile and a hearty tone. You’ll be saying it approximately 573 times, so pace yourself.


What does BULA mean? The most important word in the Pacific! - Kavaha Store


4. Prepare Your Stomach

A Fijian family function is a marathon, not a sprint. The food is abundant and diverse – from kokoda to palusami. The trick is to sample everything but don’t fill up too quickly. There’s always a second, third, and fourth round. And yes, Bubu will be offended if you don’t eat her special dish.


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5. The Kava Ceremony

Kava is the traditional drink made from the root of the yaqona plant. Participating in the kava ceremony is non-negotiable. When offered a bilo, clap once before receiving it, down it in one go, and then clap three times after. Smile, no matter how much it tastes like muddy water. It’s part of the charm.




6. Dance Like No One’s Watching (But Everyone Is)

There will be music. There will be dancing. And yes, you will be dragged to the dance floor. Whether it’s a traditional meke dance or just jiving to island reggae, the key is enthusiasm. Skill is optional, but participation is mandatory. Bonus points if you can manage a dance while enduring the inevitable fakawela.


Come experience the vibrant traditions and cultures of our homeland, from  traditional Fijian meke to Polynesian fire dances, our weekly… | Instagram



7. Family Stories and Endless Introductions

You will be introduced to everyone. Twice. You’ll hear countless stories about relatives you’ve never met and never will meet. Nod, smile, and look fascinated. This is a critical survival tactic. And remember, everyone older than you is an “aunty” or “uncle,” regardless of actual relation.



Laughing Samoans first show in Nadi today


8. Handling the Heat

Fijian functions are hot – both in temperature and in the level of family drama. Dress lightly, stay hydrated, and find shade whenever possible. As for the drama, stay neutral. Smile and divert conversations back to how delicious the food is. Works every time.



Elmo Fire All Hail The Drama GIF | GIFDB.com


9. Gifts and Contributions

Never arrive empty-handed. Bring a dish, drinks, or even just an extra kg of kava. If there’s a collection for something, contribute what you can. It’s all about showing respect and being part of the community.


Food friends mom GIF - Find on GIFER


10. The Long Goodbye

When it’s time to leave, prepare for a lengthy farewell process. You can’t just slip out unnoticed. You’ll have to say goodbye to every single person, have at least one more plate of food pushed on you, and promise to attend the next function. Accept it. It’s all part of the experience.




Surviving a Fijian family function is an art form. It’s about embracing the chaos, the love, and the endless food. With these tips, you’ll not only survive but thrive at your next gathering. So, slap on a bula shirt, grab a bilo of kava, and dive in headfirst.