Kava Ceremony – A local Fijian Tradition

Kava Ceremony – A local Fijian Tradition

During a Kava ceremony the traditional Kava drink, which originated in Fiji, is consumed. It is made from the ground Kava root and water and served lukewarm in traditional wooden bowls.

In Fiji, Kava drinking is a daily ritual and an important social event during which stories and jokes are told and conflicts are resolved. The drink has an interesting side effect…

During my stay at the island Waya in Fiji, the resort I was staying at organized it as part of their activity program, providing the guests the opportunity to try this interesting beverage. It was presented to us during what they called a “Kava Ceremony,” where some of the local men played beautiful Fijian music as we sat in a semi-circle and passed around the bowls of Kava.

When it’s your turn to drink a bowl, you can opt for “high tide” or “low tide,” which stands for a full bowl or half a bowl. Before you down the cup, you’re supposed to clap once and yell “Bula!”

The Kava root has anesthetic and sedative properties. It can make you feel numb and when consumed in large quantities you can actually lose the ability to move. This state is referred to as being “Kava drunk.” It is therefore recommended to only do this when you are already in bed and about to go to sleep. I only drank a few cups, as I didn’t particularly enjoy the taste, but some of the other guests drank up to 25 cups! Fortunately, at Waya island the Kava isn’t as strong and no-one had to be carried off to bed.