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Fiji Time: 1:47 AM on Monday 21 April

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Great tradition

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, December 25, 2013

FIJI has developed a wonderful tradition of people of all faiths sharing each other's festival.

"We share Diwali with our Hindu brothers and sisters and Eid with those who are Muslims. And everyone, no matter what their belief, gets into the spirit of Christmas," said President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in his Christmas message yesterday.

"Here in Fiji, we've developed a wonderful tradition of people of all faiths sharing each other's festivals."

In government offices and businesses, he said Hindus, Muslims and those of other faiths joined in putting up Christmas decorations and everyone enjoys the annual staff Christmas party.

"In my experience, we don't do this because we have to, or because some law or sense of obligation requires us to do so.

"We do it unconsciously, naturally and respectfully because to our friends, neighbours or colleagues, these festivals or holy days are important to them and we want to acknowledge what it means to them, to share their joy."

He said no Fijian had a monopoly on righteousness or holiness.

"We are Fijians first and that is what unites us and makes us one nation. But we share a variety of religious faiths and beliefs, or sometimes none at all, and our right to hold those beliefs must always be upheld."