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Village Marks 164 Years Of Christianity

Village Marks 164 Years Of Christianity
Sawaieke villagers in Suva celebrates the 164 years of the arrival of Christianity in their village during a function at the Nabua Methodist Church on June 30, 2018. Photo: SHEENAM CHANDRA,
July 02
15:53 2018

With the advent of Christianity and arrival of missionaries in the Fiji Islands in the 1800s several chiefs and their people turned their backs on their dark cannibal past and embraced the new faith.

One such village was Sawaieke in Gau, which switched to Christianity on June 30, 1854, the same year the self-styled Tui Viti Ratu Seru Cakobau converted and renounced cannibalism.

Village folklore has it that Ratu Seru asked that Sawaieke cease the practice of sending human flesh to Bau because he had renounced cannibalism.

The end result was that Sawaieke also turned to Christianity.

It is a day villagers of Sawaieke celebrate with much fanfare wherever they are around the globe.

Last Saturday, 164 years later, Sawaieke villagers in Suva and those on Gau marked the special day.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun in Suva, 68-year-old Ratu Filipe Lewanavanua said it was a special day for every Sawaieke villager as they gathered to celebrate it and thank the Almighty.

Sawaieke villagers in Suva gathered at the Nabua Methodist Church and started the day with a thanksgiving service.

“Our main purpose here is to give God the glory and honour for his mercy and for all that we have achieved so far,” Ratu Filipe said.

“Not only are we celebrating this day here in Suva, but those back in the village too.”

He said the day was also another way for villagers to socialise and get to know each other.

It was the first time they gathered in Suva in such a manner.

He said it was the beginning of the many more gatherings.

“We want our children to come to know each other because at times, they travel in buses together or maybe study in the same classrooms without knowing that they are from the same village,” Ratu Filipe said.

“This is why this gathering is so important to us.”

The whole-day event was filled with entertainment and dances from all the five yavusa (tribes) of Sawaieke Village.

Edited by Epineri Vula



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