Fijian Firewalking: A Toe-Curling Experience

By Richard Varr

It may be bad enough walking on scorching sand on the beach, but Fijian firewalkers firmly step on heated rocks with ease and seemingly without pain. Dressed in traditional warrior garb, they do so during the many chanting-filled rituals now performed at resorts along Fiji’s Coral Coast, on the main island of Viti Levu.

Preparing for the ritual. Photo by Richard Varr

“I started practicing 10 years ago, passed on to me by my father and my grandfather,” says Waisake Ratuloaloa, the tribal leader of one such ritual I witnessed. “This is passed on from generation to generation.”

So how does firewalking not burn his feet? “I’m already used to it because I practiced a long time. When I did it the first time, it burned but I continued doing it until it didn’t bother me anymore.”

Walking the rocks. Photo by Richard Varr

To prepare for the event, the firewalkers heat up the stones until hot with a fire and then spread them out into a small pathway for walking. The men must abstain from sex and not eat coconuts for two weeks before the ritual. Before walking across the rocks, they motivate themselves with powerful chanting.

Toe curling.... Photo by Richard Varr

After the ritual, I took a closer look at the bottom of Chief Ratuloaloa’s feet. They were not burned, but in fact just wet from the grass, with no apparent calluses or blisters. “It feels hot, but nothing happens,” he says. “It doesn’t burn my legs or feet.”

The Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa

Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa. Photo by Richard Varr

Located along the Coral Coast, this five-star property offers 250 rooms and suites. In particular, snorkeling off the beach itself (15 feet from the shore) was excellent and I enjoyed watching a waterside wedding. And the fish platter is enough for four and second to none!

I would certainly recommend looking into this property for a vacation or visit.

Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa. Photo by Richard Varr

For more information: http://www.warwickfijihotel.com

Air Pacific offers direct flights to Fiji from Los Angeles LAX.   For more information and reservations call 1 800 227 4446 or, visit www.airpacific.com

Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa. Photo by Richard Varr

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6 responses to “Fijian Firewalking: A Toe-Curling Experience

  1. Here is my video of these firewalkers:

  2. Richard – I really enjoyed your images and comments.
    thanks for sharing your experiences.
    Also congratulations on the awards you recently received.
    Take care and see you New Zealand.
    Doreen

  3. Excellent read! I’ve added your RSS feeds to my Google reader.

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