COVID-19 and Changes in Kava Drinking Protocols

Kava is a traditional drink mainly consumed in ceremonies or special occasions.  In recent times, it has become more of a common drink.  Some prefer to go to pubs after work but many a MAN would prefer to sit around a “Tanoa” after a hard day’s work.

When COVID-19 arrived on our shores in March 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had put in place COVID-19 protocols and restrictions in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.  These guidelines and restrictions such as: staying within your bubble and not sharing “Bilos” etc. work against the Kavaholics routine!  However, for the die hard, this did not hinder their spirit of having a bowl of kava.  Instead, it prompted most to change and adapt.  In order to stay within the limits of the protocols and guidelines from MOH, Kavaholics have changed their routine of drinking Kava.  Most are now seen to be drinking Kava within their own Bubble and with each person within the bubble having their own “Bilo”.  With soluble Kava products available from shops and supermarket shelves, some have even gone to the extent of filling kava in their own bottles from which they can sip.  With technological advancements, people have even gone to the extent of having virtual kava sessions with friends and families from different bubbles.

With large gatherings still banned in Fiji, Kava drinking in traditional ceremonies such as funerals etc. is non-existent due to the restrictions.  However, it is disheartening to hear and read in the news that some tend to disregard the COVID-19 protocols and restrictions and continue to have a few bowls of Kava with friends or family.

Whilst the onus is on every individual to act responsibly and follow Government guidelines, the quickest way we can gather around a Tanoa is by getting fully vaccinated and adhering to the health restrictions set by our government.

Author:  Naibuka Naicegulevu

June 2021 Edition

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