Fiji Islands religion is today dominated by Methodists and other Christian sects (about 53%), followed by Hindus (38%), and other religions. The earlier, traditional Fijian religion, however, was based on ancestor worship which extended to every aspect of the culture, including medicine. The Fijians included among their numerous gods and spirits various ancestral deities; for example, a local warrior who distinguished himself in battle might come to be revered as a war god. (See Robyn Jones and Leonardo Pinheiro, Fiji, Hawthorne, Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications, 1997.)
Displayed in the picture at left (foreground) is a Fijian war club (albeit one made for the tourist trade); a war club was typically buried with a man to help him defend himself on the way to the Afterworld.
The picture postcard illustrated the ritual firewalk still practiced on Beqa Island. Called the vilavilairevo, it involves walking barefoot on hot stones.
Bark cloth (rear), known as masi or tapa, is made from the mulberry bush. (The inner bark is stripped, soaked, scraped, beaten, and felted into finely textured sheets.) Now largely made for commercial sale, it was long worn for ritualistic and ceremonial purposes. (Note the bark cloth sashes worn by firewalkers.