Whichever time of year you’re visiting Mauritius, you may find your trip coincides with one of our many religious occasions and festivals. Check the list below to see when these events and public holidays will fall during 2016.
1st January – New Year’s Day
Along with most other countries who observe the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day is marked with celebrations at 00.00 to see in the new year.
23rd January – Thaipusam Cavadee
Mostly celebrated by Indians of Tamil origin, devotees of Lord Muruga mark this major Hindu festival with a period of fasting and prayers, before a barefoot walk to the temple carrying the arched bamboo cavadee structures on their backs.
8th February – Chinese Spring Festival
With most celebrations centred around Port Louis, Chinese New Year – otherwise known as the Chinese spring festival – is ushered in with lion and dragon dances and an abundance of red lanterns.
7th March – Maha Shivaratri
Celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva, this Hindu festival sees thousands make a pilgrimage to Grand Bassin lake, otherwise known as Ganga Talao, to make offerings of leaves from the sacred Bilva tree.
8th April – Ougadi
Also known as Yugadi or Ugadi, Ougadi is the Telegu ethnic group’s celebration of the Hindu new year. Some of the rituals include taking an oil bath followed by prayers and eating the leaves of the Neem tree.
14th April – Tamizh Puttaandu
Tamizh Puttaandu, otherwise known as Varusha Pirappu or Tamil New Year, is celebrated at the beginning of Chitirai, the first month in the Tamil Calendar. It marks the day when creator god Lord Brahma began his creation.
6th July – Eid-Ul-Fitr
The first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, Eid-Ul-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan, a period of fasting and prayer.
15th August – Assumption Day
The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary commemorates the death of Mary and her assumption into heaven, and has been marked by the island’s Catholics since French colonial times.
6th September – Ganesh Chaturthi
Celebrated in honour of the elephant-headed god Ganesha, this Hindu festival involves worshipping with family and friends and placing clay manifestations of Ganesha in public temporary shrines.
30th October – Diwali
The ancient Hindu festival of lights is one of the most celebrated festivals in Mauritius, marked with oil lamps and candles outside homes to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.
25th December – Christmas Day
Christmas in Mauritius offers very different weather to what those in the northern hemisphere will be used to, but many of the rituals will feel familiar. The island’s large Christian community follow almost all the same traditions as in Europe and North America.
If you enjoy a dose of culture with your tropical holiday, time your trip to Mauritius with one of the festivals above. Visit Air Mauritius Holidays for a tailor-made trip, including some amazing Super Save Offers with up to 35% off accommodation. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news and views.
This post is also available in: French