Fijian Culture in Beqa Lagoon
Fire walker from Beqa Island displaying his abilities walking on blazing magmatic rocks
Fiji’s culture, economy and rich biodiversity inheritance depend strongly on traditional knowledge. These roots of Fijian society are endangered by modern urban-industrial development and education. Consequently, it is essential to strengthen local cultural and ecological importance, and give tools and plans that will be available for use by future generations, emphasising traditional knowledge and the unique customs practiced in Beqa Lagoon.
Traditional knowledge and customs have always been transferred between generations by story-telling, either by the elders in gatherings or by Meke, a story told through a unique dance. These occurrences are disappearing, together with the stories and the peoples’ indigenous identity. These stories include the traditional ways of managing natural resources, farming and fishing, as well as the origins of their traditions and rituals.
One of the most intriguing rituals in Fiji is that of the Beqa Island fire-walkers. A legendary group of a few clans from Beqa Island who received the godly authority to exhibit their power and walk on blazing magmatic rocks, a custom still practised today.
Beqa Lagoon is also famed for the legend of the fierce shark gods. The shark gods are Dakuwaqa (pronounced Daku-wanga) from Rukua on Beqa Island and Masilaca (pronounced Masi-latha) from Yanuca Island. Dakuwaqa and Masilaca are blood linked and have been guarding the sea-going people of the area for millennia.