Sharon writes in the chief's blog about the New Year celebrations on Vorovoro and Mali Islands. Sounds like tribewanted is still going strong. Or check out My space on tribewanted.
New years celebrations were well underway with a party in the evening and the next day being invited to a combination of three villages celebrating the New Year. We entered the village with the men first in sulus calling out “oo ya” announcing to the village that we had arrived and were coming, the women followed in their sulus with a call of “mana vandoo “ (excuse all my misspellings of the Fiji words). There was kava ceremony, “meke” by two groups, dinner, and an exchange of a whales tooth between the elders of the tribes. I couldn’t comprehend all of it or the procedures, but it was very exciting. We had practiced a “meke” in the boat if we were to perform, but the rains came and we had to leave before dark in our boats so we did not perform. As we watched the other performances the tradition is that you try to distract the performers some by powdering them on the head and face with talcum powder, others by putting candy in their mouths, wrapping them in sulus or long pieces of cloth. The people were gracious and included us in all their activities.
Another tradition of the New Year is the throwing into the sea. Constant squeals of children and adults alike as men grab someone is grabbed from behind and thrown into the sea. You can go willingly or not, it’s up to you. There is a constant changing into dry clothes or at least the driest clothes. There is also the bucket of water gingerly dumped on a head of an unsuspecting victim or the bucket chase until all are wet, staff, tribe members, and children all laughing and enjoying the prospect of a new year and the changes that will come.