A Fiji Word List

Word

Hindi

Pronunciation

hello, goodbye

Hindi characters

nah-mah-stay

thank you

Hindi characters

den-ya-wad

How are you?

Hindi characters

Ahp kai-say hi?

father

Hindi characters

pee-tah

mother

Hindi characters

mah-ta

Batik

Batik (ba’teek) is a popular form of art among the many people from India who live in Fiji. They first dye a piece of material. Then they cover the material with wax, roll it up, and dye it again in the cracks. This dying can be repeated five or six times to get the desired colors before a picture is etched out.

You might try this same technique on paper. Color the entire paper rather lightly with a crayon. Repeat this by coloring paper again and again with four or five different colored crayons. Then take a toothpick or other sharp object and etch out a picture to get a rainbow effect.

Fiji Fun

Children in Fiji play a game call Pani. You can play this game wherever you live. You will need a ball and ten tin cans.

Divide the players into two teams and stack the tin cans between the two groups. The captain of the first team tries three times to knock down all the cans by throwing the ball. If he cannot do so, the other team is then given three turns.

If one captain knocks the cans down, the other team tries to stack them back up while the first team members keep trying to knock them down.

After the cans are stacked up again, a new game starts. The second team counts quickly to ten and then tries to knock the cans down with the ball. If a player is hit with the ball, he is out of the game.

Tapa

Have you ever heard of making cloth from a tree? In Fiji and some other South Pacific islands a special cloth is made from the inner bark of the masi (paper mulberry) tree. This cloth is called masi or tapa.

When the mulberry tree is only one year old, it is ready to be made into cloth. The tree is cut down and its outside bark is quickly taken off before the bark hardens. The inner bark is removed and soaked to keep it soft and pliable, and any of the outer bark still left afterward is scraped off with a shell.

Then comes the most difficult part of making tapa cloth. The bark is put on a table that curves outward and is beaten with a piece of hard wood until it is very thin. A small piece of bark only four or five inches wide might turn out to be twenty inches wide when finished. If it still isn’t big enough, another can be added to it by beating two pieces together until they are joined and made into the desired size.

Painting the tapa cloth comes next. These cloths are usually only three colors. The bark itself is a creamy white, and the other two colors added are black and a brownish red. The black color is made from the smoke of a gum tree and the red is made either from red clay or the juice of the mangrove tree. The painting is done with leaves to make wide lines, and bamboo strips to make narrow lines. Many times stencils are used to make the designs the same all over.

There are many important uses for this beautiful cloth that is made from a tree. It can be used for curtains or covers for couches and chairs. Sometimes it is hung all over the walls in the houses. A piece of tapa is often given as a gift when a baby is born or when someone gets married or dies. It is also used for part of the clothes that are worn for ceremonial dances.

Making tapa cloth takes many hours of careful work, and it is a favorite treasure that visitors to the South Pacific islands like to take home with them.

Lakari (Indian Sweet)

2 cups flour

pinch salt

pinch baking powder

1–2 tablespoons butter

2 cups sugar

3 cups water

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and butter to form very stiff dough. Roll out and cut into pieces 1/2″ wide and 3–4″ long. Fry in oil. Set aside. Boil sugar and water to hardball stage. Coat fried flour pieces in sugar mixture and let cool until hard.