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Sociology

Sociology

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On the islands of Fiji this firewalking ceremony is till performed for special occassions. The firewalking skill is possessed by the Sawau tribesmen living in the four villages on the windward, or Southern side of the island of Beqa. When the ceremony is to be performed several representatives are chosen from each village, the total number being usually from the immediate family of the Bete. For two weeks before the event, the participants segregate themselves from all females and have no contact with them whatsoever, also they must not eat any coconut. Failure to observe the tabu renders the culprit liable to severe burns during the ceremony. A large circular pit is dug some twelve to fifteen feet in diameter three to four feet in depth. This pit is lined with large river stones twelve to fifteen inches in diameter and a huge log fire is built over them some six to eight hours before the ceremony.