Best season to travel to Fiji

Kava (Yaqona) Ceremony

The ceremony is as important as the drink itself, just mind not to overdo it—this pepper roots tea has strong anaesthetic properties

Best time: all year round

Kava (Yaqona) Ceremony
Kava (Yaqona) Ceremony

Yaqona, kava, or grog, is a non-alcoholic national drink of Fiji. It acts as a natural muscle relaxant and antidepressant. The usage of kava is an ancient tradition of the island that has lived for centuries. Earlier this intoxicating drink made from the roots of the Polynesian pepper tree was prepared in the following way: locals chewed yagony roots (kava) and left them in water for infusion. Nowadays, the technology of preparation of kava is more hygienic, and you can buy a plant almost anywhere.

Kava ceremonies are used in almost all parts of Fijian life. In the evenings, the Fijians gather in one of the huts, sit on the floor, dilute kava in the water resulting in a dirty grey bitter beverage that is consumed from coconut halves called "Bilo." Each participant drinks his portion of the ceremony in one gulp. After someone drinks a portion of kava, all clap three times very loudly and say “bula” which means "cheers." When a bowl is emptied, the drink is prepared again. Such "gatherings", singing songs and discussing current issues can last up to several hours.

For tourists, it is often organized as a "kava tour ceremony." Fijians believe that they show kindness and hospitality in the spirit of the "Bula!" But don't forget to be careful with kava. Although small doses of kava are completely harmless, if you consume too much, you may find some unwanted surprises after tasting such as a small red rash on the hands and numbness of the lips and tongue."

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin