FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Fire-Walking Remains a Hot Tradition on Fiji

by Sharon McDonnell

Sep 1, 2016
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Fiji observes two distinct fire-walking traditions. Men from the island of Beqa, south of Viti Levu, who belong to the Sawau tribe, walk on white-hot wood-fired stones after traditional chanting. Before that they abstain from sex (and eating coconuts) for two weeks. No signs of pain — or even injury — are visible. According to legend, a Sawau warrior fishing for eels centuries ago saved the life of a spirit god who persuaded him with the offer of a magic gift: the ability to walk on fire without harm. Today only his descendants in certain villages are allowed to fire-walk. They perform at Beqa Lagoon Resort on Beqa plus Coral Coast resorts on Viti Levu, like Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Naviti Resort, and Arts Village cultural center in Pacific Harbour. In most of Fiji’s Hindu temples, fire-walking occurs annually sometime between May and September during the full moon. It’s a purification and gratitude ritual borrowed from South India, where natives beseeched the goddess Kali for rain. Clad in yellow, body parts sometimes pierced with spikes and faces smeared with red and yellow paint, these fire-walkers stride upon burning embers amid drumming and chanting. For 10 days prior to the ceremony they’ve been isolated, eating only vegetarian, non-spicy food. Hindu fire-walking is held on certain dates at certain temples, like Agnimela Mandir on Vanua Levu island.

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