Kava is a local drink in Fiji [non-alcoholic], a social event, and an experience all in itself! Kava is a root that is grown in Fiji for six years, then dried for about a month, then smashed into a fine powder. This powder is then placed in bag made of a material like cheesecloth, placed in water, mixed well with a coconut shell, and then served… but wait! There are rules to this ceremony!
This is a welcome ceremony with rules as follows:
Someone is appointed “Chief” – The Chief drinks first.
Someone else is the “Spokesman” – the Spokesman dictates when the next round begins by saying the magic word: “taki”
Someone else is in charge of distributing the Kava.
When it’s your turn to receive the Kava, you indicate how much you want to drink by saying “high tide” or “low tide” [which are pretty self explanatory].
Then, clap once, take the coconut shell filled with Kava, say “Bula” to the group [which means “hello”], drink it as fast as you can while everyone else in the group says “Bula” back to you, hand the empty coconut shell back to the person that handed it to you, clap three times while saying “Mada” [which means “done” or “finished”] while clapping three times…
Some locals like to lick this little coffee flavored candy afterwards either because they don’t like the taste of Kava or because they just like the candy… I liked both!
Then, once you’ve passed the coconut shell back to the person that handed it to you, clap three times, and take a lick of the coffee flavored candy, it’s on to the next person in the circle! I’ve seen a few minor variations to this procedure but no matter how it’s done, it’s the most fun when everyone is involved with the clapping and welcoming.
Kava is known for making your tongue numb the instant you drink it. It then is supposed to relax your whole body so that you sleep well that night.