All About "Bula!" - Fiji's Unforgettable Greeting

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••• A "Bula!" Welcome at Vatulele Island Resort in Fiji. Courtesy of Vatulele Island Resort

When you land in Fiji and are first welcomed with the greeting "Bula!" (pronounced boo-lah!), you will certainly feel you have arrived somewhere special. The Fijian people are exceedingly warm and friendly and they love to express their love of life and their genuine hospitality with infectious, enthusiastic and ubiquitous "Bulas!"

Like the Hawaiian word aloha, bula actually has a variety of meanings and uses.

Its literal meaning is "life," and when used as a greeting it implies wishes for continued good health (the official formal greeting is "Ni sa bull vinaka," meaning "wishing you happiness and good health," but it is almost always shortened to just plain "Bula!".

Bula is also used as blessing when someone sneezes. It's one of those words like grazie in Italian, mucho in Spanish and bitte in German that stick with you. By the time you leave Fiji, you will have heard "Bula!" hundreds of times and will find yourself saying it over and over to friends and family who have no idea what you are talking about.