Streets aglow, radiant homes, and families gathered together epitomize the Diwali celebration. Every year, this festival warms hearts and lights up homes worldwide, and Mauritius is no exception.
Also known as “Divali” or “Dipavali,” this Hindu festival intertwines rituals, traditions, light, and color. Celebrated around October and November, Diwali holds significant importance in Mauritius.
Discover the unique aspects of a Mauritian Diwali.
Spiritual Significance of Diwali
During Diwali, Hindus celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, a victory linked to the popular tale of Prince Rama’s return to Ayodhya after defeating the demon Ravana.
Diwali also celebrates our inner light. The candles and garlands adorning homes symbolize the inner light that illuminates our soul, guiding us towards peace and truth.
But there’s more! Diwali also symbolizes renewal and marks the end of the agricultural year in India. It’s a time when families clean, decorate, and refurbish their homes, signifying a fresh start and inner life renewal.
During this celebration, devotees pray to Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity, hoping for a prosperous year both materially and spiritually.
But what does this festival look like in Mauritius?
Diwali in Mauritius
Declared a public holiday in Mauritius, the festival of lights holds immense significance on this beautiful island.
Hinduism is, in fact, the predominant religion on the island, followed by nearly half of the Mauritian population. With its rich multiculturalism, Mauritius is the only African country with a Hindu majority.
Diwali in Mauritius is a cherished family time. Often, several days of preparations precede the festival. Mauritian Hindu families deep clean, refurbish, and decorate their homes with rangolis (colorful floor designs) and diyas (oil lamps). These preparations symbolize their desire to purify their home environment and welcome Goddess Lakshmi into a sanctified space.
For Mauritians, Diwali is a time for introspection. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the past year, shed bad habits, and adopt positive resolutions for the upcoming year.
Unlike Indians who typically exchange gifts during Diwali, Mauritians are more accustomed to giving gifts during the New Year.
In Mauritius, Diwali is a blend of ancestral traditions and local nuances, but its core spiritual meaning remains universal.
Photo credits : Yann Krukau
Diwali Traditions and Rituals in Mauritius
Mauritius has its own Diwali traditions:
- Preparing oil lamps (diyas): Lighting lamps and candles during Diwali underscores the need to seek inner light and combat evil, ignorance, and injustice.
- Culinary specialties and traditional Diwali recipes: In Mauritius, families feast on local delicacies like the famous “gato patate” (a popular sweet treat), followed by laddoos, gulab jamun, and nankatai. Not to forget the spicy bites called “gato pima.” These traditional dishes are integral to the celebration and are often shared among families, friends, and neighbors.
- Illuminated garlands decorating home exteriors.
- Rangolis: Artistic and geometric designs drawn on the ground.
- The art of mehndi: Temporary henna tattoos adorning women’s hands and forearms during the festivities.
- Handcrafted clay lamps (diyas) that light up Hindu homes and streets in Mauritius.
Photo credits : Yann Krukau
The beauty and depth of this festival remind us of the importance of preserving and celebrating each country’s cultural traditions.
Diwali, the festival of lights, teaches us all, regardless of our beliefs, about sharing, family unity, and self-reconnection.
If you wish to delight your taste buds and witness the next celebration, visit Mauritius on November 12, 2023.
Come and experience our traditions and celebrate with us!