By Pat Visanti
On 7 October we had an anticipated celebration for Fiji Day at our formation house in Cubao. For me, celebrating Fiji Day away from home for the first time in my life was a touching and memorable experience.
We began with a Mass celebrated by Fr Arthur Ledger SJ, Fiji’s only Jesuit priest, who is the current director of the East Asia Pacific Institute at Ateneo de Manila. Then followed the Fijian kava ceremony. We also had a brief slide-show of the history of Fiji. The spiritual year students performed the meke, a traditional Fijian dance, and this was followed by the meal. The night was simply the Pacific at its best here in Manila, and there was more than enough for everyone who came to join us in our celebration.
When we sang a Fijian hymn, Sa kau cake mai oqo, at the offertory of the Mass, my memory drifted back home where people wake up early in the morning to prepare the lovo, an earth oven, for the traditional way of cooking. The aroma of cooked pork, chicken and palusami filled my mind. I could also picture families along the beach at Nasese enjoying the day with kava, Fiji’s number one tropical root drink.