Public Holidays on fixed dates:
Public Holidays with varying dates:
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. 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 is the Telegu New Year.
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.
Divali 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 is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadhan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. It is a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing for Muslims. Prayers are offered at mosques during the morning.
Mauritius has had strong ties with French culture throughout its history and was left with a very French "savoir vivre". The popularity of French dishes like the daube, civet de lièvre or coq au vin served with good wine show the prevalence of French culture in Mauritius even today. As years passed by, some have been adapted to the more exotic ingredients of the island to confer some unique flavor.
During the nineteenth 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.
The end of the 19th century saw the arrival of Chinese migrants, who came mostly from the south-eastern part of China.
Along the years, each community has adapted and mixed each other's cuisine to their liking.
The production of rum is common throughout the island. Sugarcane was first introduced on the island when the Dutch colonised it in 1638. Even then, the propensity of making rum out of sugarcane was strongly recognised. Sugarcane 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 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, 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 too is popular. Both national teams have very lowly world rankings for their particular sports.