“Yaqona (pronounced Yangona) or kava drinking is common in Fijian villages and it is quite normal to see groups of men gathered around the tanoa swapping stories as the bilo, a half coconut shell, is passed around. In Fiji the old customs still prevail, in fact turning down an offer to drink a bowl of Yagona is considered insulting in Fijian society.
The tanoa is a large wooden bowl carved from a single piece of Vesi (hardwood). Yaqona is made from the root of a pepper tree. In times long gone, the Yaqona was prepared by the young girls of a village who chewed the pieces of the root into a soft pulpy mass before the water was added.
Today the root is pounded in a pestle and mortar or by machine.
After the water has been added the gritty pieces are strained through a bundle of vegetable fibre usually the shredded bark of the Vau tree. Today cloth is used. The ceremony is performed in the presence of the guest of honour, the guest of honour is seated cross – legged in front of the tanoa from which protrudes a thick rope of coconut fiber decorated with white cowries shells.
This is called Tui-ni-Buli and is pointed towards the guest of honour. The master of ceremonies, acting on behalf of the guest of honour, directs water to be added to the root.
Kava has a pleasant calming effect on the body, while leaving the mind clear.”
According to Fijiembassy.be
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