We began our Christmas Eve celebrations with roving cocktails at various venues throughout the property. Our wizard Papa Kele mixed up different magical holiday concoctions at every location. Upon arrival at Dream House, our Grand Villa, we were treated to Christmas carols sung by the award winning Urata Village children’s choir backlit by a most spectacular sunset. We fully expected to see them extend snowy white wings for they looked and sounded like angels.
Following the choir was our Fijian Storyteller – one of our dive masters, Paul, who shared a very entertaining version of “The Night Before Christmas” – Fijian style. We all laughed as his story conjured images of bures, geckos, fruit bats and a kava drinking Santa in board shorts!
Awaiting us at Duavata Beach was a magnificent bonfire next to which our lovo had been cooking in an earth oven all afternoon. Wrapped in banana leaves and coconut palm fronds and surrounded by fiery hot creek stones was chicken, fish, pork and traditional root vegetables: dalo (taro) and cassava (tapioca). Soon our Fijian family meal (lovo) was unearthed and displayed with several other offerings such Palusami: taros leaves baked in coconut cream, kokoda: the freshest fish marinated in lime juice and seasonings; and Vakasos: ripe plantains with shredded coconut and coconut cream for our Christmas Eve feast. Papa Kele provided us with his latest Christmas cocktail and we settled in around a large table with lanterns and fairy lights all aglow. It was an evening of sparkling lights, sparkling champagne and sparkling conversation. By the night’s end it was evident that the infectious nature of the Namale experience had wrapped us all in its warm embrace.
Not to be outdone, we were all greeted upon arrival for breakfast on Christmas morn at the Main Bure by Santa Rups (the jolly alter-ego of our F&B manager, Rupeni) who not only instantly put a grin on everyone’s face but also presented each couple with a token of special significance in Fijian culture – a carved wooden Tabua. The Tabua is highly regarded in Fijian culture. The ceremonial whale’s tooth with a coconut fiber cord attached at either end is traditionally presented at important ceremonies such as weddings, births and funerals. And, in this case to our guests as a token by which to always remember a very special Christmas shared with their new Fijian family at Namale.