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Superstitions and Old Wive's Tales-Fiji Style


By panther


Here in the islands, superstitions are common as elsewhere in the world today, we have beliefs and stories that are passed down from one generation to another and held onto us as a special story which makes up very much part of our lives. Villages have their own different Totems in the form of trees, plants or animals and nature is dealt with the utmost respect.
From my mother’s Fijian side, we believe when a butterfly flutters in a proximity to where where we are, it symbolises a visitation of a loved family member who had passed on. Conversation would come to a standstill when whoever notices the beautiful visitor first would announce its arrival with a welcoming greeting. The rest of us will join in the same then continue with whatever we were doing after seeing it flutter off on its journey.

A bird chirping outside our main door to the house means we would be expecting a visitor on that day or that a female relative recently married is expecting a child. Whilst on this I thought I mention too of how it is believed if a woman who is hiding her early stage of pregnancy from the family , can cause sickness to some in the household, especially from eating the food that she cooks. Only after her pregnancy is brought to light that this stops.

An owl hooting at night is an indication to expect bad news of a death of a close family member.

The unusual visit of ants in the house is a sign of bad weather to be expected. Also a known fact is when there is an unusual abundance of fruiting of some local trees, such as breadfruit,mangoes or bananas,this is an indication that a cyclone or hurricane is sure to happen.

Plants do play an important role to our daily lives here as well in the form of herbal medicine. I thought I share with you a few common remedy uses that I can think of at the moment:
Lemon Tree: The leaves can be used for tea and is also used in steambaths as a remedy for respiratory and stomach ailments.

Mile a Minute: The squeezed juice from this creeper plant is used to stop bleeding to any mild open wound or injury, the residue of the squeezed leaves is then left covering the opened wound until the bleeding stops.The same is used for easing High Blood Pressure type headaches.

Guava Leaves: The young guava leaves are used as a remedy for an upset stomach, the leaves are crushed and juice is squeeze out of it and taken, nothing more than half a teaspoonful daily.

Hibiscus Leave (vau): isa a remedy for curing sprained muscles, the leaves are washed and layered on top the sprained area and bandaged tightly. It takes a quicker time in healing.

These are just some typical herbal medicines for common ailments here that I thought I share with you Goy Members who may be interested in the local Fijian side of things.
Pictured below are the leaves of the Mile a Minute Plant.

More blog posts by panther

Previous post: The Garden of the Sleeping Giant - Nadi, Fiji



Thanks for this blog..
Very interesting and well-written.
My favourite story is the one about the butterflies, but all of the tales are fascinating.

I don't quite understand the reference at base to the picture of the leaves of the Mile a Minute Plant. Did you intend to include the photo in the blog ? I can't see it yet.

Thanks again. :o)

9 Nov, 2008


Very interesting. Enjoyed reading it.

9 Nov, 2008


I enjoyed reading about your various uses for plants. Some of the old wives tales are interesting, too. Thanks for sharing.

9 Nov, 2008


Another interesting blog ,love reading all about your life and belives in Fiji Thanks

9 Nov, 2008


Very interesting, thankyou. You might be interested to know, in UK superstition, an owl flying round a house or sitting on the roof and hooting is an omen of death here too. In fact birds were generally seen as bad luck on or in a house or tapping at windows. Must be a widespread thing - strange huh?

9 Nov, 2008


I love the butterfly idea, too. Such a gentle, loving tale.
Thanks for sharing this with us! I enjoyed reading it - and I can see the photo!

9 Nov, 2008


Thank you for sharing sure the herbal remedies actually have a proven value as many medicines have a plant extract base.

My mother was a spiritual lady who often felt things.If friends or family were taken ill she d know it even if they hadnt been in touch for a while.

She insisted she had to return home to Ireland as something was wrong she was later informed her mother had a stroke and died a few days later.

On another occassion she insisted she had to go into work although she was off duty.,she arrived to find a colleague collapsed on the floor.She never owned an alarm clock in her life and said she would tap her head on the pillow the amount of times needed to signify the hour she was to wake.

Thanks for those details Sid if all that true then guess I should be checking my insurance policies cos all that happens here on a regular basis! Oooh

9 Nov, 2008


Panther ~
I can see the Mile a Minute photo now.
When I first saw your blog it was before the photo had made its way into the GoY systems ! :o)

9 Nov, 2008


Thank you all people, I will try responding more when I get home from work!

9 Nov, 2008


Thank you for an interesting blog. I think folk tales are fascinating. We have lots in Wales too.

10 Nov, 2008


what interesting tales Panther, and very well told . Thankyou for sharing

10 Nov, 2008


Thanks again, yes tis amazing isnt it? How our beliefs intertwines somehow, as in the case of the owl and the omen that the birds bring.
Bonkerspon that was interesting reading about your Mum, she was a gifted woman!
Its blazing hot here right now, 01.02pm, lunch time.
Yes Blodyn I know you have lots of folk tales there as well. I used to enjoy reading these stories
Did you know that Fiji was once a colony of Great Britain? We just got our independence in 1970, and English stories were very much part of our lives in our early childhood at school.
OK that may go into another blog!! :-)

11 Nov, 2008


Grand blog ,loved reading it many thanks.

11 Nov, 2008


Thanks Lincslass:-)

11 Nov, 2008


Very interesting, enjoyed reading it. In El Salvador we have huge moths called 'papalotas' and they are taken to be a sign of an impeding death of a relative or person close to you...right before my grandfather died there was one in the house and no matter how my mother, who was getting frantic, tried to get rid of it, it wouldn't budge. She was terribly upset, because he was supposed to be having surgery in the States. A couple hours later she got the news my grandfather had died in the hospital in California.

I believe butterflies were thought to transport the sould of the dead to the afterlife, but would have to confirm this.

We think owls are a good omen, though, representing wisdom.

15 Nov, 2008


Thanks Raquel, sorry to hear about your grandfather's story. The huge moth one is indeed interesting too.

16 Nov, 2008


onz..............i love reading it................very interesting!!!!:):)

26 Jun, 2009


Thanks I am glad you liked it!! Welcome to Goy and bula vinaka my Fijian Goy Friend!!! Look forward to some pics!

29 Jun, 2009


Fascinating and wonderful Panther !
Was it Fiji and Tonga that were once Colonies ? I know I have seen pictures of Queen Elizabeth when she visited in years past. and she always looked very happy to be there. I shouldn't wonder either with all of the beautiful things that you have to look at in your 'paradise home'.

7 Sep, 2009


Fiji was once a colony yes Sue. We were ceded to Britain in 1874 and got our Independence in1970. Tonga have their own monarchy but I assume they were also once a colony as well. Thanks for your comments, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :-)

14 Sep, 2009

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