Fiji festival celebrated in Burnaby

This year’s Fiji Festival marked the 14th annual Fijian celebration, which began in 1999 as a small neighbourhood festival held at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park. Since then, the event has grown into an event that attracts more than 5,000 people each year to its current location at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium.

Regina Prakash, whose father, Vincent, founded the event, said the festival is all about showcasing the unique and colourful culture of Fiji.

“It is a day where everyone gets together enjoying the cultural dances and entertainment. The festival begins with a yagona ceremony, which includes various dignitaries,” she said.

The yagona ceremony – a traditional Fijian ceremony where dignitaries are asked to drink a special Kava drink – is central to the festival, she added, as it marks the opening of the festivities.

It was all fun and games. From a kids zone with games and activities, to a soccer tournament for the adults, and traditional Fijian foods available for purchase, the event was really for anyone.

There were vendors who set up behind the stands at the stadium, selling items and clothing throughout the event.

On top of the numerous vendors who filled Swangard Stadium, there were performances by local dancers, featuring traditional Polynesian and South Asian routines.

Fiji, a country made up of more than 300 islands in the Pacific Ocean, has a diverse population including South Asians, who emigrated from neighbouring India, native Polynesians and European descendents.

The festival was celebrated on July 27 at Swangard Stadium, at Boundary Road and Kingsway Avenue.