Health Education Arts Language Traditions & Heritage of Fiji
Ceremonial dances are an important part of Fijian culture. Taditional dances have been handed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years.
These colorful costumes are made from foliage which grows in the jungle surrounding the village.
Meke, a dance performance is an ongoing tradition that enacts local stories and legends. The arrangement of the group and every subtle movement has significance. In the past, Fijian meke were accompanied by chanting by a chorus or by ‘spiritually possessed seers’, and usually rhythmic clapping, the thumping and stamping of bamboo clacking sticks, the beating of slit drums and dancing. They were held purely for entertainment, for welcoming visitors, or on important religious and social occasions; births, deaths, marriages, and property exchanges between villages.
Men, women and children participated in meke. Men performed club and spear dances and the women performed fan dances.