Mauritian culture, like any culture worldwide, makes a country and its people unique. The culture on the island is based on the diversity of the population and is expressed through literature, dance, music, local crafts, religion, and tradition. You can experience this from the door of your luxury villa in Mauritius.
Music plays a big part in Mauritian culture and the most listened to styles are Séga, Reggae and Seggae. Séga is a musical expression of the way of life in Mauritius: amusement, bright, and happy. Originally used to express the pain and sensuality of African slaves torn from their land, it is now a festive tropical dance. Women wear large coloured skirts and men a baggy shirt and wide pants.
Traditionally, it is accompanied by a cylindrical drum, the ravanne, a triangle and a maravane (box filled with seeds that, once shaken, produces a creaking sound). Nowadays, it is played with modern instruments such as bass, guitar or drums. Séga's well-known singers are Fanfan, Serge Lebrasse, Ti Frére, Michel Legris and Marlène Ravaton. The music has been passed on from generation to generation and is appreciated by all members of the community. Tourists are often invited to join this cheerful dance barefoot when they visit the island.
Mauritius is known as an island that is a mine for inspiration which highlights why so many great writers go there to seek insight and be influenced by the beauty of this island. Natacha Appanah, Edouard Maunick, Lindsey Collen, Khal Torabully, and Eddy J. Changkye are all Mauritian writers who transform the beauty of the island into novels and poetry.
The most famous novel set in Mauritius is 'Paul et Virginie' written by French author Bernardin de Saint Pierre. First published in 1787, this novel tells the story of two young lovers and covers matters such as society in Mauritius and slavery during the French colonial period. The novel brings to life the issues on the island, the beautiful landscape, and the Mauritian lifestyle.
The most famous local craft in Mauritius is woodcraft where model ships are built in workshops all over the island. This production comes from the French Raphael Touze who, seduced by the craftsmanship of Mauritian wood, decided to explore this branch. In 1970, he commissioned José Ramar, a Mauritian cabinetmaker, to make the first prototype. The most used woods are, on the other hand, rosewood, teak and ebony.
Reconstituted from their original plan, they are the perfect souvenir to take home for the end of your trip. Historic Marine, the largest Mascarene model factory in Goodlands, has a showroom and a workshop that are worth seeing. In addition, in local markets and shops, travellers have the pleasure of being able to buy typical products such as rum, volcanic stone boxes, embroidery, clothes and baskets made of vacoas fiber, raffia, aloe or bamboo.
There is no official religion within Mauritius as the population is so diverse. Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and others from all around the world live in unity and appreciate the different practices of all religions in Mauritius. The island is full of churches, mosques, and temples. In this plurality of religious practices, the main populations are Hindu and Tamil. Once a year, there is a big pilgrimage to the most sacred site in Grand Bassin, near the lake bordered by a huge statue of Shiva.
The second religion of the island, Islam represents 20% of the population and is reflected in the many mosques in which ceremonies are celebrated during the night of Cha'baan, for the beginning of Ramadan or the night of Mir'aa for the ascent to the heavens of Muhammad.
And finally, Buddhism appears as the fourth religion and is divided into three religious groups: Cantonese, Hakkas and Foukiénois. This culture has its own festivals: the Lantern Festival and the Chinese New Year.
Like everywhere in the world, Mauritius has its own traditions. The "Sundowner" - literally the "sunset" - is a traditional weekend and holiday ritual during which the Mauritians meet on the beach to enjoy the last rays of the sun: a very pleasant moment, especially in summer.
Otherwise, every year, Mauritius organises the traditional event, sports, cultural and eco-responsible Mauritius: the Regatta. Fishermen embark on their regatta canoe, made of meranti wood or black wood and repainted for the occasion.