Mauritius is a multi-faceted tropical island that can be described as a melting pot. Indeed, it draws its richness from the plurality of its people, characterized by its ethnic diversity that gives the island a unique identity.
No official language is known in this paradise, even though Creole is the lingua franca of the country and French and English are spoken or understood by the majority of the population. Oriental languages such as Hindi or Hakka also have a place of choice in Mauritian society. Cultures and races from several continents live side by side and embrace this diversity. Thus, Mauritians are very open and welcoming people: they speak several languages, listen and play different music, practice different religions and lead the lifestyles of their culture or ethnic origin. This colourful and cosmopolitan population of a little over a million people likes to define itself as a “rainbow nation”.
In addition to its sublime white sand beaches, this tropical paradise is endowed with a cultural and historical heritage that does not leave its visitors indifferent.
It is important to note that 80% of Mauritians are Hindu. Indeed, more than two thirds of the Mauritian population descends from the Indian people as well, and if you are lucky enough, you will be able to attend one of their many colourful and opulently flowered celebrations. These traditional festivals are very important for Hindus and attract the curiosity of passers-by. Divali (between October and November) is also a national holiday also called “Festival of Lights” which represents the opportunity for Hindus to chase the negative aspects of their lives as a new beginning; it is the same in the business world where on that day all the accounts of the year are closed for the leaders of Hindu enterprises.
On this occasion, the value of the family and the sharing then resume their place, men and women pray together, and the family meals are real feasts.
In addition to Hindu festivals, cultural diversity is also present in art and especially music and dance. Séga is the best example. This sung dance has its roots in Madagascar and is a fundamental cultural symbol for Mauritians. Originally sung by the men and women who had been sold as slaves but who still felt the call of music, Sega was their only way to express their states of mind, to overcome their condition of misery and to mark their quest for joy and happiness. These very intense Creole songs accompanied by their dance are today part of Mauritian folklore. All this expression of joy is reflected by the traditional colourful outfit and the wild rhythm of traditional instruments such as the “Ravane”, the “Triangle”, the “Maravanne” or the guitar.
Have you ever heard of the Dodo?
The Dodo is an integral part of the Mauritian culture and is also an emblematic animal.
Although it was exterminated during the Dutch colonization, this bird short on legs and with a bent nose has been immortalized by the Mauritians and tourists since its disappearance!
During your stay, you will find it everywhere and in all forms: plush, wood, dishes, textiles and stamps!
The last dodo died in 1681 and if you wish, you can go to admire its reconstruction at the Museum of Natural History in Port Louis.
We will not forget to mention that the Mauritian culture is also rich of its succulent cuisine; to find out more, go to the cuisine section dedicated to it!