Unusual Traditions in Mauritius

beach party

Sega dancers © cyanopolis/Flickr

A tropical island near the coast of Africa, Mauritius is increasingly sought-for by holiday makers for its picture-perfect beaches and spectacular mountains. But there is more to Mauritius than nature, though. The culture and history of Mauritius are equally interesting, as few other countries in this part of the world display such an interesting blend of cultures and traditions.

Mauritius today is a multicultural nation, but one where old traditions, even ancestral ones, have still survived. Here’s a short inventory of some of the most unusual traditions in Mauritius, we hope you will enjoy it:

Sundowner

This is one tradition in Mauritius that every visitor will enjoy. Similar in a way with the Spanish siesta or the English five o’clock tea, the sundowner is basically a moment of relaxation, which usually takes place at sundown and is accompanied by a drink. Traditionally, the drink that is considered to suit best the beauty of a Mauritius sunset is a rum-based cocktail – in case you did not know this, Mauritius is famous for its rum.

cocktail at sunset

sundowner © jennifrog/Flickr

Sega

Sega dancing is one of the national treasures of Mauritius. Sega music can be considered as a local invention, although it has numerous influences, such as African, Indian, Chinese. With time, traditional music styles brought by immigrants form different parts of the world have fused with African instruments and dances to give birth to Sega music. Sega music is very diverse: you can hear it at parties as it can have really fast rhythms and catchy tunes, but it can also used as social commentary and in more ‘artistic’ contexts, such as theater plays.

beach party

Sega dancers © cyanopolis/Flickr

Religious Holidays

One of the most unusual elements of Mauritian culture is the number of festivals that take place on the island, and which belong to various religions and groups. While the New Year is more or less a secular holiday, celebrated all over Mauritius, each community has its own holidays across the year – which are recognized as public holidays. Thus, the Chinese community celebrates the Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese New Year at the beginning of each year. There are several Hindu festivals in Mauritius, with Diwali, Cavadee and Maha Shivaratree being the most important. Muslims gather at the end of autumn and the Ramadan to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr. The two most important Christian Holidays are Christmas and All-Saints Day.

Light Festival

Diwali fireworks © Anil Jadhav/Flickr

 

 

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