Vula Vakaviti (Fijian Calendar)

Ever wondered what is was like for people back in the old days when there were no watches, clocks or calendars? How they were able to tell the exact time when something was due to be done?

Ever asked yourself how you would be able to live if you were without these necessities?

Our ancestors were able to do it and handle it quite effeciently by looking at the signs in nature and by following their own calendar.

The Fijian calendar is based on planting and fishing seasons. Unlike the ordinary calendar year which is divided into 12 months, the Fijian calendar is divided into 11 months.
The months are named for the different planting and fishing seasons.

The Fijian calendar year began in June/July and not in January as we have it today.
Vula means moon and is also the Fijian word for month.

  • There were known as Vula i Werewere, meaning it is the month for clearing the land for planting. People know it as vula i werewere because fruits like kavika, wi and dawa are ripe.
  • It is also a time for digging kaile (a rootcrop belonging to the yam family that grows wild) and kawais (also part of the yam family). And towards the end of the month, large numbers of fish can be caught near the sea shore.  
  • is called Vula i Cukicuki. This is when patches of ground are broken up for yam beds. The soil is allowed to lie fallow. Nature`s indicator during this time was the blooming of the ivi-tree. Cukicuki means to dig up soil and broken to prepare for planting.
  • is Vula i Vavakada, when young yam plants are tied to reeds to enable them to climb up. It is also the last month of the regular planting season. 

The four months after this are named after fish. 

  • is called the Vula i Balolo Lailai, when there is a small rise of the balolo, a sea worm found in reefs. 
  • You will also find that kaile and breafruit is in abundance during this month. For those who missed the vula i teitei, or planting months, this is the perfect opportunity to plant kawai
  • is the Vula i Balolo Levu when there are mess quantities of the sea worm.
  •  You also know that it is this particular month because bananas are plentiful and tivoli (part of the yam family) is ready for digging.
  • is Vula i Nuqa Lailai when small quantities of fish arrives.
  •  Breadfruit planting was also done at this time. 
  • is Vula i Nuqa Levu when there are large numbers of fish....
  • This is also the month when the reeds growing around the yams are dug up and stored, leaves die and oranges are ripe for the picking.

  • is called Vula i Sevu when the first harvest are always taken to church for a special thanksgiving service by the farmers. All their produce will be on display for the whole of that Sunday for all members of the congregation to see.
  • Soon after the 'sevu' (harvest of the first harvest) they then build a special shelter or store house called the 'lololo' before they start to harvest the rest of the yams from the farm.

  • is the main harvest and its purpose is mostly subsistence as well as for other traditional engagement.

  •  is called the Vula i Gasau when reeds began to sprout afresh and house building began.

  • is Vula i Doi when the doi tree flowered and tarawaus (a fruit) were ripe.This is the Fijian calendar that many Indigenous Fijians, mostly of the rural areas, still follow today.
Source: Fiji