Culture & Heritage
Mauritius is a crucible of diverse cultures and religions which our migrant populations brought from ancestral soils…India, Africa, China and Europe. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are the most practiced religions. All year long, our rich diversity is celebrated in peace and harmony.
Is celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva (February). Following an all night vigil, Hindu devotees, clad in white, carry the "kanwar" - wooden arches covered with flowers- in pilgrimage to Grand Bassin, to fetch holy water from the lake. The whole scene is reminiscent of the great rituals on the banks of the Holy Ganges in India.
The most jovial of all Hindu festivals. Celebrated in October/November, it marks the victory of Rama over Ravana and also commemorates Krishna's destruction of the demon Narakasuran.
Clay oil lamps are placed in front of every home turning the island into a fairyland of Flickering lights.
In September people of all faiths flock to the shrine of Father Jacques Desire Laval in Ste Croix, Port Louis. You can almost catch a glimpse of Lourdes in the fervour of the great crowds who attributes miraculous healing powers to Father Laval.
Is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadhan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. Prayers are offered at mosques during the day.
Chinese Spring Festival
The Chinese New Year's Day ( January/February), which falls on a different day every year because of the adjustment of lunar days to solar days, is preceded by a thorough spring-cleaning of the home. No scissors or knives are used on that day.
Red, symbolic of happiness, is the dominant color. Food is piled up to ensure abundance during the year, and the traditional wax cake is distributed to relatives and friends. Firecrackers are lit to ward off evil spirits.
This Hindu festival is as coloured as thenumerous legends which inspire it. Essentially, it is a festival of revelry when men and women enjoy themselves by squirting colored water and powder on one another. It is a time for rejoicing and exchanging greetings.
Cavadee is celebrated in January/February. Their bodies pierced with needles and their tongues and cheeks with skewers, devotees, trancelike and in penance, trek along bearing the "Cavadee", a wooden arch covered with flowers with a pot of milk at each end of its base, to place it before the deity in the temple. At this point, despite the long, hot trek the milk should not have curdled.
Is the Telegu New Year. It is usually celebrated in March.
Is celebrated on the 4th day of the lunar month August/September, as the birth day of Ganesha, the God of wisdom and remover of all obstacles.
The sega is an integral part of our culture. It is an indigenous form of music and dance peculiar to Mauritius. Derived mostly from African music dating from slavery days, the Sega is now performed with sophisticated contemporary influences and instruments. The shuffling, hip swaying dance and Creole lyrics are an integral part of the music.