World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Public holidays in Mauritius

Article Id: WHEBN0009001935
Reproduction Date:

Title: Public holidays in Mauritius  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chinese New Year
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Public holidays in Mauritius

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 fixed dates:

  • New Years1 and 2 January
  • Abolition of Slavery1 February
  • National day (Independence Day) – 12 March
  • Labour Day - 1 May
  • Arrival of indentured Labourers – 2 November
  • Christmas25 December

Public Holidays with varying dates:[1]

The festivals listed below are not celebrated at the same date every year. Therefore only the months when they are likely to be celebrated is given.

The Spring Festival, which is the Chinese New Year, is celebrated in January/February, depending on the adjustment of lunar days. Red, 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.

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 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 Telegu New Year.

  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary15 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 is celebrated 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 (Between October and November) 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. Prayers are offered at mosques during the morning.


Main article: Cuisine of Mauritius

The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Creole, Chinese, European and Indian influences. It is common for a combination of cuisines to form part of the same meal.

Mauritius has had strong ties with French culture throughout its history and was left with a very French "savoir vivre". Even today, the popularity of French dishes like the bouillon, tuna salad, daube, civet de lièvre or coq au vin served with good wine show the prevalence of French culture in Mauritius. As years passed by, some have been adapted to the more exotic ingredients of the island to confer some unique flavor.

During the 19th century, after the abolition of slavery, Indian workers who migrated to Mauritius brought their cuisine with them. Those indentured labourers came from different parts of India, each with their own culinary tradition, depending on the region. Traces of both Northern and Southern Indian cuisine can be found in Mauritius. Some common preparations are curry, chutney, rougaille (tomato paste that is very popular with fish) and pickles, most of which use local ingredients. The Mauritian versions of those dishes have a local flavour and differ, at times considerably, from the original Indian recipes.

The end of the 19th century saw the arrival of Chinese migrants, who came mostly from the south-eastern part of China. They are largely credited with making rice, the staple diet of the island, and making noodles, both steamed and fried, popular. Chinese appetizers such as hakien (local version of the spring roll with a flour batter replacing the traditional rolled wrapping), crispy chicken and crispy squid have become part of the Mauritian folklore. Furthermore, Chinese and other Asian restaurants are present all around the island, and offer a variety of chicken, squid, beef, mutton and fish dishes, most typically prepared in black bean sauce or oyster sauce. Mauritian families often consider a dinner at an Asian restaurant as a treat.

Along the years, each of the country's communities have adapted and mixed each other's cuisine to their liking.

The production of rum is common throughout the island. Sugar cane was first introduced on the island when the Dutch colonised it in 1638. Even then, the propensity of making rum out of sugar cane was strongly recognised. Sugar cane was mainly cultivated for the production of "arrack", a precursor to rum. Only much later, after almost 60 years, the first proper sugar was produced.

However, it was during the French and English administration that sugar production was fully exploited, which considerably contributed to the economical development of the island. It was Pierre Charles François Harel who in 1850 initially proposed the concept of local distillation of rum in Mauritius. In part due to his efforts, Mauritius today houses three distilleries (Grays, Medine and St Aubin) and is in the process of opening an additional three.

While not as famed as its Caribbean counterparts from Cuba, Jamaica or Barbados, Mauritian rum is slowly gaining exposure on the international stage and is considered by local stakeholders as an area of potential growth.


Main article: Mauritian literature

While Kreol Morisyen (Mauritian Creole) is the most spoken language on in Mauritius, most of the literature is written in French, although many authors write in English, Bhojpuri, and Morisyen (Mauritian Creole), and others such as Abhimanyu Unnuth in Hindi. Mauritius's renowned playwright Dev Virahsawmy writes exclusively in Morisyen.

Important authors include Malcolm de Chazal, Ananda Devi, Raymond Chasle, Loys Masson, Marcel Cabon, and Edouard Maunick. Lindsey Collen has been able to carve out a meeting of imaginaries in the unique social setup of this multi-faceted country. Other younger writers like Shenaz Patel, Amal Sewtohul, Natacha Appanah, Alain Gordon-Gentil and Carl de Souza explore the issues of ethnicity, superstition and politics in the novel. Poet and critic Khal Torabully has put forward the concept of "coolitude," a poetics that results from the blend of Indian and Mauritian cultural diversity. Other poets include Hassam Wachill, Edouard Maunick, Sedley Assone, Yusuf Kadel and Umar Timol.

The island plays host to the covetable Le Prince Maurice Prize, a literary award celebrating and recognizing 'writers of the heart'. The award is designed to highlight the literary love story in all its forms rather than for pure Romantic Fiction. In keeping with the island's literary culture the prize alternates on a yearly basis between English-speaking and French-speaking writers.


Due to lack of funding and a local culture that values academic achievement over any other form of activity, Mauritius' national sports teams have been very unsuccessful at a competitive level. However recently, rugby union has rapidly increased in popularity in the small island nation. Football is also popular. Both national teams have very lowly world rankings for their particular sports.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Mauritius has won its first Olympic medal. Bruno Julie a boxer has won the bronze medal.

However Mauritius is quite competitive at regional level(inter-Ile) in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius collected some golds, silver and bronze medals in the Jeux des Iles de l'Océan Indien (JIOI).[2] The second and the fifth edition were hosted by Mauritius in 1985 and 2003 respectively.

As in countries like Malaysia, football is hugely popular among males, especially England's Premier League. The most followed clubs are Liverpool F.C., Manchester United and Arsenal F.C.. Owing to their recent successes, FC Barcelona have gained significant support.

The national sport, however, remains to be horse racing, which is part and parcel of the island's cultural heritage. Horse racing in Mauritius dates back to 1812, when the Champ de Mars Racecourse was inaugurated, making it the oldest racecourse in the Southern Hemisphere. Races are widely followed, both in terms of attendance at the Champ de Mars and television audiences. Mauritians of all ages like to discuss races, share tips and place bets.

At an amateur and recreational level there is a growing culture of participation in sport, with Trail Running, Cycling, Mountain Biking and Water Sports becoming increasingly accessible and popular.[3]

See also


Further reading

External links

  • Mauritius Society of Authors
  • Mauritius Restaurants Guide
  • île en île - Literature of the Indian Ocean, biographies, bibliographies, excerpts and links.
  • Islam in Mauritius
  • Festivals in Mauritius
  • Local network of churches
  • Mauritius National Holidays and Festivals
  • Trianon Conference Centre, Mauritius
  • Free recipes of Mauritius
  • Template:-inline
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.