One of the biggest parts of Mauritian culture is our mixed heritage, stemming from 3 continents- and that includes our fantastic yearly festivals in Mauritius. We take lots of pride in our island’s wonderful diversity.
Which is why we’ve decided to put together a short list of our fantastic festivals celebrated in Mauritius.
If you happen to be here during any of these, you’re more than welcome to join us to find out more about us!
Chinese Spring Festival (Jan.-Feb., depending on the Chinese calendar)
Chinese Mauritians celebrate this festival by wearing or using a lot of bright reds (red=happiness); knives and scissors are forbidden; and it’s a family gathering holiday. Firecrackers are lit in the evening to ward off evil.
The most famous part of this festival is the Dragon Feast, of course, which is truly spectacular to see. A few days after the start of the festival, Chinese dancers and musicians take to the street and the dancers perform the Lion Dance.
Maha Shivaratree Festival (Usually in Feb.)
Mauritian Hindus dress in white and make a pilgrimage to the Grand Bassin Lake (they travel from all over the island for this). They carry ‘Kanwar,’ or wooden arches decorated with tiny mirrors and flowers.
This festival is in honor of the Lord Shiva. Believers take water from the lake and have small celebrations for 3 or 4 days.
Id-El-Fitr Festival (End of Ramadan, depending on the year)
Mauritian Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan (a month-long fast during daylight) by meeting with family and friends to exchange gifts. They also give alms to the poor. This is to wish each other good luck and fortune in the future.
Fire Walking Festival (Dec.-Feb., depending on the year)
Tamil Mauritians purify, fast and pray for 10 days before they fire walk. They walk across hot coals, then cleanse their feet in milk after, in honour of Draupada.
Cavadee Festival (Feb.)
Another Tamil festival, this one is famous for body piercing. 10 days of fasting are followed by a pilgrimage to temples with the participants pierced in pins. The pins are typically in the cheeks, tongues, chests or backs.
During their pilgrimage they carry flower-decorated wooden structures (‘Cavadee’) and seem to be in a trance state for the journey.
It’s a fun Indian celebration to celebrate spring. The night before Holi, there’s a large bonfire with ceremonies. The next day, everyone throws colored water and powder onto each other to wish good fortune.
Ougadi Festival (Mar.-Apr., depending on the year)
Telegu Mauritians celebrate their New Year with family celebrations. It includes elaborate meals, intricate shows and the exchange of gifts or sweets.
Ganesh (Aug.-Sept., depending on the year)
A Hindu celebration of the birth of the God Ganesh, small replicas of the elephant head representing him are taken to a river. The head must be dipped before the sun sets.
Pere Laval (Sept. 9)
The first to be beatified by Pope John Paul II, Mauritians drive or walk to Ste Croix in Port Louis to the site of his burial. There they pray over their ‘Apostle of the Black People.’
Divali Festival/Festival of Lights (Oct. or Nov., depending on the year)
Hindus celebrate the victory of Rama (light/truth) over Ravana (darkness/ignorance) with lights in their homes. Traditionally, small clay pots with candles were used, but now it’s more common to use fairie lights. Families and friends meet and exchange cakes.
February 1: Abolition of Slavery Day
March 12: National (Mauritius) Day
September 9: Pere Laval Day
November 2: Arrival of Indentured Laborers Day
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of fantastic yearly festivals in Mauritius. Have you ever been to one? What did you think? Tell us down below!
Until later, adieu- Ido Productions