Diwali is pronounced ‘Divali’ in Mauritian creole. Traditionally, clay oil lamps are placed in front of every home turning the island into a fairyland of flickering lights. Divali is celebrated with great enthusiasm at Mauritius as this country has a huge Indian diaspora. The Divali celebrations at Mauritius are at par with those in India. Mauritius accounts for a 60 per cent Indian majority of which 80 per cent follow Hinduism. Almost all Hindu festivals are celebrated with grandeur on the island. In Mauritius, Divali celebration is an age-old tradition. Besides celebrating Lord Ram’s victorious return, the little flickering lights also symbolise the beginning of summer in Mauritius.
The main day of the festivities is considered auspicious day for merchants to tally their accounts and balances for the previous year, to step into the new year without any financial burden. After the morning prayers, Hindus share sweets prepared specially for the occasion with one and all, in accordance with the multicultural spirit of Mauritius.
This year Divali will be celebrated on October 19, which is also a public holiday in Mauritius. Divali preparations start well in advance. The Ministry of Arts and Culture of Mauritius is organising several concerts during Divali for which they are inviting famous Bollywood singers to perform.
The must-dos on Divali in Mauritius include:
- Walk or drive through the villages and towns to see the decorated and illuminated houses. The most popular village to visit on Divali is Triolet, in North Mauritius. It is well known for its elaborate decorations and fireworks
- Feast on the traditional Divali sweets; make sure to ask for the gateau patate, the most popular treat, made with sweet potatoes and coconut
- Many temples have special prayers on this occasion, providing a cultural experience to participate in them.