WE all have our own special ways of celebrating Fiji Day.
Some of us celebrate because it's another national event celebrated nationwide every year, others see it as a time to meet up with friends, raise a flag and organise a lovo lunch or dinner with family, friends or work colleagues.
But for 70-year-old Ratu Osea Baleinatei, such a celebration holds special significance because he feels blessed to be part of another year of the country's independence.
This year, he couldn't stop smiling as he proudly waved his Fiji flag.
The turaga ni yavusa of four clans in the district of Koibau in Macuata, said he always made it his business to avail himself for Fiji Day celebrations. And he has been diligently practising this for the past 42 years.
Every Fiji Day, Ratu Osea halts his daily chores to make sure he is part of the celebration, whether in his own community or in the northern town where people rally to mark the auspicious occasion.
"Fiji Day celebration has become part of my life and I always make sure I celebrate it every year," Ratu Osea said.
"I usually take my wife with me to the celebrations and sometimes the villagers accompany us.
"It might be another normal celebration for the year in our national calendar but personally, its an event I am proud to be part of," he said.
"Before, the event was remarkably celebrated in our own communities, but now, the vibrant spirit of celebration is slowly fading. Celebrations these days are not filled with excitement and joy like before; it seems that people are not realising nor acknowledging the importance of such an event," he said.
"The younger generation need to understand the value and importance of this special day and be encouraged to take part in traditional events like yaqona presentations, mekes and oral presentations for the purpose of strengthening our culture," he said.
Ratu Osea said if youths were instilled with such knowledge, Fiji Day would be a meaningful event in years to come.
"For as long as I live, I will make sure I am a part of it.Let's all be proud of who we are and maintain in our hearts the significance of Fiji Day so our children can always raise the nation's flag with pride in years to come," he said.