iQia, qaraniqia, qisa, veiqialaki – for almost 100 years these words have not been spoken.
At a panel discussion on our first trip back home in 2015 a woman in her 70’s commented that she had never heard of veiqia and wondered — what else have we lost?
We didn’t just lose the initiation of young girls into womanhood, we lost rituals associated with it, like receiving their first liku* , the making of liku, songs, dance,and language.
This year is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate our tattooing history. Through language people preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression.
Throughout the year we’ll be sharing Fijian words associated with veiqia. Check out Veiqia: na iVolavosa Vakaviti here.
*woven skirt made from natural fibres.