Fijian funerals expensive
Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu
To host a funeral in a iTaukei village nowadays is very expensive, unless the family is rich enough to cater the requirements or if the major requirement like cattle, piggery or root crop is available within the family. To make it worse the price of yaqona has sky rocketed and making the process more expensive.
In the villages the very next day after a death in the family the commotion starts; getting the firewood, the sheds erected and most important of all is the relying of the message of death to families closely related.
And all parties arriving to the family for their reguregu any day before the funeral day are expected to be fed and have a few bowls of yaqona, unless they are expected to leave immediately after paying their last respect. The decision of the family about the burial day is very important. The longer it takes, the more expensive it will be. Also depending on the day of the week, if it is the week day, it will be less people to feed. Having it on the weekend should be expecting more people.
The coffin and hearse is also expensive unless the family decides on other family members or relations to do the honours of getting the body home.
They are usually responsible for all requirements from the morgue to the hearse and the journey home.
For the yaqona addicts in the villages, its an opportunity for them to be around the tanoa, while the villagers helping out the family in mourning, are expected to be fed, drink yaqona, have cigarettes and probably alcohol after the occasion.
The most important of all is the food catering. This where most of the expenses are to be expected the most. The host is always highly expected to have the best from other similar occasions and for people to see the family status. When catering food for such an occasion, expect the following: people demanding for extras, pots to be filled to be taken home, food available after the grog session, people always ensuring that there is nothing left after the day. It would probably be different in the islands, or if the family is a member of another religious denomination or if morgues or hospital are a distance away. These funerals are happening in the villages around the urban centres. I would probably say that is would be cheaper hosting a funeral in an urban centre than in a village nowadays.
In the urban area, its the funeral day that we need to worry about. People wouldn’t be around too long since they have other engagements to attend to and the reguregu are mainly financial gifts. These are very useful to the family. I could be wrong, but this is my personal view in regards to iTaukei funeral