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Mbau Fijians Pitek, Emily


The Mbau Fijians are the native inhabitants of Fiji's Bau Island. This entry focuses on the Bau chiefdom around the time of 1840, prior to the 1874 cession of Fiji to Great Britain. This focal time also occurs prior to substantial Christian influence, which began in 1854 following the chief of Bau's conversion to Christianity. Traditional Mbau Fijian religious beliefs involve a supreme god, ancestral spirits/ghosts of the deceased, and various deities. Priests are the means of connecting to and communicating with the realm of the supernatural. Priests lead religious practices and hold positions of great influence, working closely with chiefs. Because religious beliefs are bound up with the functioning of society, this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with society at large.

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