Culture and people of Mauritius
Located on the Indian ocean Mauritia his a country that has a unique culture that can be traced from different ethnic backgrounds that is the French and British colonialists, Arabs, Africans, Chinese and Indian workers who came during the colonial times. The Mauritian culture is what creates the uniqueness of the country and this is because it is a multi- diverse country that has several cultural practices that are carried out by the different tribes. The culture of Mauritius is best seen and experienced when you attend most of the festivals that are celebrated in the different months but attended by the largest population in the country. And the good thing is that you can freely attend all these festivals if you are in the country for as long as you follow their rules and regulations put in place especially when it comes to the religious festivals.
The people of Mauritia
The people of Mauritia are generally known as Mauritians but there are individual tribes that habitate on the Island. These different tribes all come in with different cultures when it comes to religion, marriage and other traditions practiced within the country. There is a rich history that surrounds all the people that currently live within Mauritius and this dates back to the colonial times and slave trade era.
Mauritius is strategically located along the Indian Ocean not so far away from the East African coast which made it a stop center for all the slave traders and those who carried out other forms of trade. The Dutch and the French sailed to the Island and started carrying out their trade from here but since they did not want to do all the work on their own, they shipped in casual workers from India who came to work on the Island and all these coupled with some of the African slaves that were not shipped off the Island became the face of Mauritia. Besides the mentioned groups of people that first stayed on the island, there are also other migrants that came to the Island that is Arabs and Malays and all these became the people of Mauritia.
Religion in Mauritius
Mauritius as a country has no official religion and this is due to the fact that the Island has people from different ethnicities and all these have each religion that they belong to. As a former stop over for slave trade from the Arabs and colonialists, Mauritius became a safe haven for all the slaves that were brought into the country after the trade ended. It is a country that is filled with diverse religious sects and some of these include Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims and others.
The largest religion in the country is Hindu and it covers over 40% and you will find many Hindu temples scattered all over the country. There are also a number of statues of the different gods that the Hindus worship and some of them are Krishna, Shiva and many more others. Some of the festivals that they carry out include the following:
The Holi festival,
this is celebrated by the Hindu and is a festival filled with joy. It is where they pour different colors on each other while wishing each other good luck.
this is loosely translated as a festival of lights and it is celebrated either in the month of October or November. They normally use golden and these are always put around their homes after dusk. The golden lights are believed to guide the goddess of wealth into their homes and it is used as a victory over the darkness.
this is celebrated in either August or September but only in the lunar year and it is celebrated as an honor to the one of their gods that is Lord Ganesha who is the God of wisdom.
The Cavadi festival
, this festival is celebrated at the beginning of every year that is January or February and it is a festival for piercing of the different parts of the body using needles and other forms of pins.
Christianity comes in at second place and they also have some religious festivals that they celebrate throughout the year and some of these are the lent season, Good Friday, the Easter period and not forgetting Christmas as the year ends.
Islam is the third largest religion in Mauritius and this is due to the presence of the Arabs in the country. Islam covers about 20% of the total population of Mauritius and there are any mosques as well that are found in the different parts of the country. The most celebrated festival that is done by the Muslims is the Id-El-Fitr which comes after the fasting month of Ramadhan. Muslims can be seen in the different parts of the country celebrating and you can also join the celebrations while in the country.
Buddhism come in at t fourth position with many of the Chinese belonging to this religion. They also have many festivals that they celebrate and since they own almost half of the commercial work in the country, you will have a chance to experience the Chinese culture most especially if you travel to china town in Port Louis the capital city of the Island of Mauritia.
Dress code in Mauritius
The men can put on anything that they want for as long as they are decent but when it comes to the women, most of them put on saris as this is the traditional wear for the Hindus who make up the largest population on the Island. The saris are made up of different designs and these designs are meant to ward off all the evil spirits that might want to attack the owner of the sari. They also come in different colors and these colors have different meanings each.
- The green sari is mainly worn by the merchants and the Muslim women and this sets them apart.
- The white sari is worn by widows to show that they were married before and it is also worn by the Brahmans people and the priests.
- The black sari is never put on as it is considered to be bad luck.
- The red sari is meant for warriors and no one is allowed to put on red especially for weddings as it is considered to be bad luck as well.
- The blue color is majorly worn by farmers.
- And lastly yellow is used by the different religions in the country.
Social life of the Mauritians
When visiting a Mauritian, the level of hospitality you will get from your host is determined by the closeness of their ethnicity and religion to yours. This does not mean that you will not be welcomed warmly but there is a difference that is experienced because of religion and ethnicity.
If you plan on visiting a Mauritian family after being invited for a meal, it is only proper that you take a small gift for the family so that you show your gratitude to the people who have invited you for a meal in their home.
They do not care for being nude or half naked on the beaches and this is frowned upon by many locals. When it comes to marriage, they are mostly arranged marriages between families that know each other well and a person considered to be from a low class cannot get married to a person from a high social class and the reverse is true. Intermarriages are also rare as most Mauritian people get married from the same religion and ethnicity background.
The Dodo bird
The Dodo bird is the National symbol of Mauritians and it was used as a symbol on the post cards, the money used on the Island and can also be seen on some buildings. Although now extinct, the Dodo bird was a rare species that was endemic to the Mauritius Island and it used to live on the Island before it was inhabited. It normally fed on seeds and fruits and used not to fly and that is why it became instinct way too fast as it was attacked by predators and sometimes killed by the locals themselves.
Languages spoken in Mauritius
The different people who are found in Mauritius all speak different languages but there is one that is mostly spoken and this is Creole. French and English are the languages that are spoken in Mauritius especially in offices and this is due to the British and French colonialists that inhabited the country many years ago and on top these other languages that are spoken are Hindu, Urdu and Chinese.
There is no official language spoken in Mauritius ever since it got its independence but you do not need to worry about communication as some of speak English and you can as well use translators in form of guides in case you are in a place where communication is hard.
The food in Mauritius
The food that is prepared in Mauritius is a different matter altogether that is it is always a mixture of the different ethnic groups that are found in the country. The locals generally eat a lot of rice and this is accompanied with the different types of soup that is fish, chicken, meat, vegetables and so many more others. The different dishes can be sampled at either restaurants or the food trucks that are always lined up at the beaches. All in all you need to know about the food that is prepared in Mauritius is that it will always have spices as they are so many in the country and therefore before you order for that delicious looking dish, first make sure that you are okay with the amount of pepper they put in it.
Everything that is written about the culture of Mauritians does not do it justice due to its diverse nature and the best way for you to get the real feel of the Mauritian culture is by visiting the island and getting a one on one experience with the different locals.