Fiji Church Rules No Pants on Sunday
By Theresa Ralogaivau
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
THE strict observance of Sunday worship has resulted in men on a Bua island not being allowed to wear pants on Sunday.
The Sunday ban also forbids travel and the hanging of clothes on lines.
Galoa Village headman Josefa Baleinasiga said the ban was enforced so that the islanders could learn to respect the significance of Sunday as a holy day.
Mr Baleinasiga said the Methodist Church and the vanua also decided to impose the ban as a means of bringing good fortune to the people.
"The ban is meant to bring good luck to the island as we respect the day of the Lord," he said.
"You can see that often misfortune befalls us because we don't respect His commandments that there be no work performed on Sunday except worship.
"Before our islanders used to go diving on Sunday, and there was a lot of travelling and it was difficult to separate the days all the days were the same.
"Now on Saturdays the clothes line in the village is full as the villagers know they can't hang anything out on Sunday."
As a mark of respect, men can only wear a sulu or sulu vakataga on the day; travelling by outboard from the island is forbidden.
"But we make exceptions during emergencies for the sick so it's not a ban that hasn't been well thought out."
A villager who requested anonymity said the ban was too restrictive because it limited movement.
"We can't understand how wearing a sulu vakataga on Sunday will help us forge closer relations with the divine," he said. "At times too for the school children who come home for the weekend, the best time to return to their hostel in Labasa or Savusavu is on Sunday - so that is getting in the way."
Mr Baleinasiga said anybody who breached the ban would be chastised by the vanua.