Festivals in Mauritius Worth Experiencing
April 10 2018
April 10 2018
Visiting the tropical island of Mauritius is undeniably a phenomenal experience. Pristine, powder-white beaches and cobalt-blue waters border luxury resorts that melt into jungle-like surrounds—it’s a dream destination for many. Apart from its obvious natural beauty, plethora of both adventure and leisure activities and sensational food, it has one profound differentiating factor which makes it unlike another destination in the world; it’s rich and diverse culture—with large numbers of Indian, European, Chinese and African people making up the local population of the island. If you are a traveller who craves immersive experiences that allow you to understand new cultures first hand, one of the best things you can do is ensure that you book your trip to Mauritius around some of its fascinating festivals, which so perfectly reflect the diversity and heritage of this iconic island. Interested to know which fabulous (and often unusual) festivals in Mauritius you might enjoy? Here are some of our favourites:
One of the most thrilling and vibrant festivals in Mauritius, the Chinese New Year (which marks the start of the Chinese Spring Festival) normally takes place in January or early February—the date changes every year depending on the Chinese lunar calendar. One of the most important festivals for the Chinese population on the island, Chinese New Year is characterised by large family meals, traditional food and phenomenal festivities. In line with tradition, a huge fireworks display occurs at the beginning of the festival to ward off evil spirits. If this is something you would like to witness, head to Chinatown in Port Louis where some of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations take place.
Another wonderful festival in Mauritius, the Thaipoosam Cavadee also takes place towards the beginning of the year (around January and February). This festival, celebrated largely by people of Tamil origins and which takes place on the night of the full moon in the Tamil month, is quite an experience; a fast typically precedes a ritual of cheek, tongue and chest piercing with needles and unusual ceremonies (such as firewalking) are common. It’s certainly an extraordinary experience for anyone who has not witnessed the festival before.
Another of the most remarkable and important festivals in Mauritius, the Maha Shivaratri occurs in February or March and is celebrated in honour of the Hindu god Shiva. More specifically, this three-day festival is in celebration of the Great Night of Lord Shiva and sees Hindus wearing white and embarking on a pilgrimage to the sacred lake Grand Bassin—also known as Ganga Talao. This holy lake has a fascinating story and is said to be linked to the river Ganges. People come here in droves for this holy pilgrimage and it’s a wondrous sight to behold.
On the 12 of March every year, one of the most important public holidays and festivals takes place; Mauritius’ independence day and the birth of the state in 1968. Celebrated in true style, this important event (and public holiday) kicks off with the raising of the Mauritian Flag in Champ-de-Mars in Port Louis followed by formal speeches, vibrant parades and parties. Make the most of this experience by spending this day in Port Louis which is at the centre on this hugely important day.
Another festival that takes place around March (and sometimes April), Ugadi is technically the Hindu New Year and marks the beginning of the Hindu lunar calendar. Leading up to the festival and celebrations, it’s customary for Hindu families to clean and wash their houses thoroughly. In the early hours of Ugadi morning, those celebrating will rise before the sun and decorate the entrance to their houses. To bring in the new year and new chapter on a good note, many Hindus often pray for health and prosperity during this time.
Having gained traction around the world for the bright, colourful powder used and its beautiful symbolism, the Holi festival, also known as the Festival of Colour, is celebrated in spring to mark the end of winter. Traditionally celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs throughout the island, this festival begins with a big bonfire to symbolise light over dark and good over evil, followed by the throwing of coloured powder, which stands for solidarity and love. One of the main purposes of this festival, apart from being religious and marking the beginning of spring, is to bring people together no matter their color or status and makes for an extraordinary experience for those visiting Mauritius.
In and around the month of June one of the most important Muslim festivals in Mauritius takes place, Eid El-Fitr. Signifying the end of Ramadan (which is a month of fasting for religious purposes), this festival centres on families sharing meals with each other and giving presents, as well as thoughts and prayers for peace and prosperity.
This special festival in Mauritius takes place around August and September and is a celebration of the birth of the Hindu Lord Ganesha. A vibrant and joyful festival, it is marked by ceremonial house cleaning, fastings and dancing. During this time many Hindus create statues from earth of the Lord Ganesha, which are taken to be put in the lake once the festival is over.
The sensational Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali is celebrated the island over and occurs around October and November. As the name suggests, this festival is characterised by light, with huge fireworks displays as well as lights placed in front of houses with the intention to draw the Goddess Lakshmi to earth in order to bless occupants with good fortune and wisdom. The symbolism for this festival is also the triumph of good over evil and light over dark.
One of the more unusual festivals in Mauritius, this Tamil festival usually takes place between the months of December and February every year. Tamils head to temples where they skillfully walk across burning hot coals during this festival (which lasts ten days). The challenge of walking across the searing coals holds a spiritual significance and is meant to aid purification as well as encourages a time of prayer.
Looking to head to Mauritius to experience one of this sensational festivals? Then take a look at the four- and five-star Sun Resorts. Any of the four Mauritian hotels offered by this unbelievable brand are sure to blow you away. When you stay with Sun Resorts, you can be sure that you will have the holiday of a lifetime.