The Culture of Mauritius

Pages: 3 (812 words) Published: August 4, 2013
~By Priyadarshinee Dhawka~

Last Thursday, I had dinner at a friend of mine who was celebrating Cavadee, my mother’s been worrying about July being too cold for Ramadan fasting. To my British pen friend, this would seem like babble but to YOU, this is perfectly sane and normal. Why should it not be so?

The main objectives of the Ministry are: ‘to promote cultural interaction among different cultural components within the country and abroad for mutual understanding and enrichment and to organise cultural activities for the public at large.’

Once our ancestors claimed this island as their own, they had at hand the herculean task of cohabiting with foreign cultures. And they DID so. The product of their efforts today are the public holidays allocated for cultural festivities, the existence of a Ministry of Arts and Culture and the ever growing number of active sociocultural groups on the local scene. Is cultural diversity in Mauritius a myth? The online Oxford dictionary defines culture as’ the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.’ In our case, we think of the Mauritian culture and the different cultures of the various ethnic groups in the island.

Fact: 69% of the population is Indomauritian, 1.7%, Francomauritian, 27 %, descendants of African slaves and 3% Sinomauritian.

What makes these cultures different? In Mauritius, inevitably, culture is linked with religion. Thus the varieties of existing ethnic groups have their rituals, beliefs, values and traditions based on their faith. Cultural celebrations often have a specific religious significance attached to them. For instance, Mauritians of Hindu faith celebrate Divali to rejoice about the victory of light over darkness but the festival is also associated with the sharing of traditional sweets and, the bursting of firecrackers. Likewise, the other ethnic groups have their various cultural festivals.

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