August is festival time on the main Fijian island of Viti Levu. If you are visiting Fiji next month then I highly recommend attending two extremely popular Pacific Island’s festivals. The Bula Festival takes place in Nadi which is located on the western side of Viti Levu from July 31 to August 7. A week later the Hibiscus Festival begins in the capital town of Suva which is located on the southeast coast of the same island, and runs from August 15-22.
The Bula Festival is held at the grassy expanses of Koroivolu Park and Prince Charles Park where Nadi comes to life with musical performances, food booths, beauty pageants, and games. During this festival, Fiji’s multi-cultural heritage shines through the performances, from a Pacific dance competition in traditional Fijian dress, to a Bollywood night that highlights the nation’s Indo-Fijian population.
Started in 1960 as a small festival, the Bula Festival is now the largest event in the Western Division on the island of Viti Levu. Over 10,000 people will pack the parade route on opening day to be a part of the floats and musical festivities, and as the week wears on, it seems that nearly everyone in Nadi and the surrounding towns has either performed a dance or entered a competition. The festival is also one of the best places to try all the famous Fijian foods, where the flavors of the Pacific blended with Indian spices awake and liven your culinary senses!
The Hibiscus Festival is Fiji’s longest running festival since 1956. The first festival was held for one night only at the Suva Town Hall, now the Vine Yard Restaurant (formerly Ming Palace). However, it wasn’t long before it became a week-long festival.
The festival brings Suva to a stand-still during the first week of the school term two holidays. Thousands converge at the Albert Park, the home of the festival, to enjoy the food, rides, entertainment, sporting activities, opening march, floats procession, singing and dancing competitions, children’s day, displays, careers village, arts village, contestants judging and crowning to name a few.
This year will see the continuation of the Fijian Night, Pacific Night and Asian Night which sees the performance of traditional songs, dance and display and sale of art and handicraft under those various themes.
If you happen to be in Fiji in August, you’re lucky! If not, it is not too late to start planning now! Enjoy!