A Fijian meke (prounced meh-kay) is the term for a traditional, communal form of spiritual folk dance Fijian men, women and children use to convey stories or daily life or long, epic tales of victory by the gods.

The leader of a meke is called the daunivucu. The daunivucu preserves the traditional customs by channeling the spirits and teaching the community how to do a particular dance. The “orchestra” (vakatara) will motivate the dancers by steadily beating sticks, hardwood gongs or bamboo tubes, usually while sitting on the ground. Meke dancers (matana) wear garlands of flowers (salusalu). Most often women in Fiji perform meke as a fan dance, dressing in traditional skirts and applying sweet-smelling coconut oil to heighten the multisensory experience. Men, in their dancing, will dress as warriors and simulate the use of spears or clubs.

In the meke every body motion, every hand motion, the position of every performer…even position of every member of the audience is important. There are special positions in a meke for members of the village hierarchy; placing them anywhere otherwise would be an insult.

More about the meke: introduces the meke, as well as the lovo feast and the kava/yaqona ceremony | Watch a men’s sitting meke | Watch a women’s fan meke | This men’s meke has it all–green skirts, fans, spears, sitting, standing and even a waterfall

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