Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fijian dress


I found a great website which talks about the traditional and modern day dress for the Fijian Natives. You can visit it at

The following details can be found at the website:

In the past, the dress of Fijians consisted mainly of either loin cloths (for the men) and grass skirts for the women. In general it was the men (particularly the chiefs) who were more flamboyant in their dress - from their elaborate hairstyles to the clothing they wore. For the women, the length of the grass skirt depended on their marital status - short for single women and long for married women. Girls then wore virgin locks up until their marriage and usually had tattooes covering their lower regions (seen as a sign of beauty).

Today, women dress more conservatively - usually wearing masi or tapa cloth for mekes or weddings. In most cases, a cotton or silk or satin blouse is worn as a top with two or three layers of masi as a skirt. In most mekes, women often wear a specially made cotton blouse, a long sulu (called sulu I ra) and either a masi skirt or a tapa print shorter skirt worn over the sulu. Or in special occasions, a tapa top or sheath is worn across the chest (instead of a blouse) with two or three layers of masi as a skirt. On other occasions, women often wear a dress with a sulu I ra or a chamba which is a specially made top and long sulu.

The men either wear grass skirts for mekes and tapa for special occasions. On other occasions the men wear a sulu vaka taga (a sulu - what many mistake as a skirt) with a shirt - the common attire for church, functions and work. Different parts of Fiji also have distinctive types of dress. People from the village of Dama in Bua, Vanua Levu, don't wear tapa as their traditional dress. Their traditional costumes consists of pieces of finely woven mat called kuta - a type of reed. Kuta is the most highly possession among the people of Dama and Bua (and is called yau vakamareqti). Special adornments added to the dress also signify status. Chiefs or a person of high rank usually wear a piece of brown coloured masi (called masi kuvui) around their arms or tied around their waist as a sign of their chiefly status. Sandalwood dust on the hair is also a sign of chiefly status.

I hope you enjoyed the background on the dress of Fiji. My favorite Fijian outfit is the sulu. It comes in many wonderful colors and designs. If you plan on visiting a village in Fiji (for an example, a welcoming ceremony) don't forget to get yourself a sulu. You can purchase a sulu at an online store that I found. It has many great items at

Ni sa moce


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