Hinduism is the largest religion in Mauritius with over half the population identifying as Hindu; this means that every year when Diwali comes around, over half of the population and even more are celebrating, making it one of the most spectacular times of the year to be on our humble island.
From Sanskrit, Diwali literally translates to “a row of lamps” which explains the tradition of lighting tiny oil lamps and placing them all around the house. But going deeper in, the lamps give light and relate to all that Diwali stands for: spiritually signifying the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.
The ‘Festival of Light’- as it also known – is an official holiday in Mauritius and lights up the entire island and the hearts of its inhabitants. Typically, the Diwali preparations and rituals extend over a 5-day period, with the main festival of Diwali coinciding with the darkest, new moon night. The festival is celebrated with great fervour and passion across the island and around the world through family gatherings, prayer, exchanging of gifts and food traditions.
Before Diwali arrives, it is tradition for families to clean their houses and business properties and then elaborately decorate them; this is to honour Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. Other traditions also include ‘rangoli’, a type of Indian folk art created with coloured rice flour, which is used to create intricate patterns on the floor around which tealights or oil lamps are placed. People also buy new clothes in order to dress up and look their best for the occasion, while the ladies sometimes apply henna to their hands and feet – another way of making themselves look beautiful and preparing themselves for the night of celebration.
On Diwali night itself, people dress up in their newly bought fancy attire and gather together with family and friends for prayer. Buildings are brightly lit up, draped with sparkling lights; traditional Indian sweets and food are shared and the night sky is emblazoned with firework after firework, making it a magical spectacle for everybody to behold.
On the west-coast of Mauritius, the home of Marguery Villas, the experience of Diwali is truly amazing, especially in Tamarin Village. The Hindu folk go all out and certainly go out of their way to ensure that everyone truly feels and becomes a part of the festivities. The lights, the music, the food and the genuine joy among the community is an authentic experience and one not to be missed, whether you are Hindu or not.
Diwali this year in 2017 falls on Thursday 19th October and will be a public holiday for the entire island. Make your Diwali one to remember and allow the celebrations on the west-coast of Mauritius to brighten up your soul.
Contact us today to discuss Diwali special offers for our beautiful, luxury, private villas in Mauritius and we look forward to sharing our Diwali with you.
Happy Diwali to one and all and remember, light will always overcome darkness.