The culture of Mauritius involves the blending of several cultures from its history, as well as individual culture arising indigenously.
Public holidays and festivals
The number and diversity of public holidays and festivals indicate the rich heritage of the island's people and its ethnic diversity.
Public Holidays on the same dates:
New Years – 1 and 2 January
Abolition of Slavery – 1 February
National day (Independence Day) – 12 March
Labour Day - 1 May
Arrival of indentured Labourers – 2 November
Christmas – 25 December
Public Holidays with different dates:
The festivals listed below are not celebrated on the same date every year. Therefore, only the months when they are likely to be celebrated is given.
Chinese Spring Festival (between January and February)
The Spring Festival, which is the Chinese New Year, is celebrated in January/February, depending on the adjustment of lunar days. Red, the symbol of happiness, is the dominant colour. 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.
Thaipoosam Cavadee (February) Hindu Festival
Cavadee is celebrated in January/February, more precisely by the Tamil community in Mauritius. Along with the fire-walking and sword-climbing ceremonies, Cavadee is among the most spectacular Tamil events. The body pierced with needles and the tongue and cheeks with skewers, the devotee, trance-like and in penance, walks in procession to the temple bearing the "Cavadee", a wooden arch covered with flowers with a pot of milk at each end of its base which he or she places before the deity.
Maha Shivratree (Between February and March) Hindu Festival
Maha Shivaratree is celebrated in honour of Hindu god Siva (February). Hindu devotees, clad in spotless white, carry the "Kanwar" - wooden arches covered with flowers – on 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.
Ugadi (March) Hindu Festival
Ugadi is the Telugu New Year.
Ratha-Yatra (July) Hindu Festival
The chariot festival is any public procession in a chariot.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 15 August
The 15 August becomes a public holiday in even years, for example, 2006, 2008 and 2010. During odd years (2005, 2007, 2009), it is not a public holiday; instead, 1 November will be a public holiday, in commemoration of All Saints' Day. The decision to alternate between the two dates was a government decision to avoid increasing the number of unworked days after abolition of slavery (1 February) and Arrival of Indentured Labourers (2 November) were declared public holidays in the early 2000s.
Ganesh Chaturthi (Between August and September) Hindu Festival
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by the Marathi community in Mauritius on the 4th day of the lunar month of the Hindu calendar. It marks the birthday of Ganesha, the God of wisdom and remover of all obstacles according to Hindu mythology.
Diwali (Between October and November) Hindu Festival
Diwali is the most jovial of all Hindu festivals. Celebrated in October/November it marks the victory of righteousness over evil in the Hindu mythology. Traditionally, clay oil lamps were placed in front of every home turning the island into a fairyland of flickering lights; these have now been replaced mostly by decorative electric lights.
Eid ul-Fitr (Any time of year because Islam is based on a lunar calendar) Muslim Festival
The exact date of this festival is subject to confirmation as its celebration depends on the visibility of the moon. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. It is a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing for Muslims. Special prayers are offered at mosques during that morning.
Content created and supplied by: Kwame12 (via Opera News )