January 16, 2018

Cultural Diversity of Mauritius

The two forthcoming celebrations are the Thaipoosam Cavadee and Abolition of Slavery.

Thaipoosam Cavadee

Mauritian Tamils celebrate Thaipoosam Cavadee which is a festival held in devotion of Lord Muruga.

This year it will be celebrated on the Wednesday 31st of January 2018. Rituals are performed in temples all around the island following which, there will be a ten-day purifying period of fasting, prayers, penitence and atonement for those devotees who will participate in the ceremony. During these 10 days, devotees build their cavadees with an arched bamboo supported by wooden rods and richly decorated with fragrant and colourful flowers and leaves. On the day of the ceremony, early in the morning, devotees pierce their bodies with needles and spears with an aim to purify their soul. They gather near river banks for rituals and join a ceremonial procession to the temples.  Each region may have between forty to a hundred Cavadees. In bigger places like Port-Louis there may be six to eight hundred people who are involved in the procession converging towards the temples.  There they offer the sacred milk to Lord Muruga. They finish with a prayer before heading home and sharing a meal and the holy milk with their families. The next day the devotees again gather at the temple in their locality to take part in a ceremony which ends this festival.

Abolition of Slavery

On this 1st of February 2018, all Mauritian people will be commemorating the abolition of slavery. Slave trade became illegal in the early 1800’s. However, that didn't stop the British from bringing more slaves to Mauritius. They were asked to work in sugarcane fields and still being ill-treated. Some of them managed to run for their lives and hid in forests and mountains so that they escape torture. Slavery abolition Bill was passed in 1833 under King William IV, following which, Slavery was abolished on the 1st of February 1835 on the island. This event was so important for the country's history that its anniversary has been declared as a public holiday.