Relationships, Marriage, & Family Life in Fiji
Significant dating is somewhat rare in Fiji, by both the ethnic
Fijians as well as the ethnic Indians. In both these cultures marriage is important
to the families of the individuals and in both cultures the families get intimately
involved in who their child marries. Today dating is becoming more common and many
young people want more freedom to date and marry who they please, but most families
still help with this process.
Once a couple decides to marry (and today most couples make this decision although
arranged marriages do still exist), they have a wedding ceremony. Many of the Fijians
will get married in a church or another venue with family and friends present, while
the Indians tend to get married in a temple or elsewhere that is more representative
of their religion (most of the Indians in Fiji are Hindu).
Very few people will marry without their family's approval as this can lead
to an individual being excommunicated from their family and town.
Once a Fijian couple marries they are officially viewed as adult members of the
community as they are given mats and other items to begin their lives together in
one home. Marriage among ethnic Fijians also forever links families as the two families
will communicate more and act as one extended family. Marriage in Fiji
is at the core of the culture as villages, towns, and relationships with other towns
are heavily dependent on marriage and family ties. Because family is so important,
it is not a surprise that most Fijian couples have large families, generally with
two or more children.