Public Holidays in Mauritius
May 29 2019
May 29 2019
Mauritius is a destination of unparalleled beauty; lush jungles with an array of incredible flora and fauna give way to luminous green sugar cane fields, volcanic mountains slope down towards pristine powder-white beaches and glittering azure waters - it’s nothing short of an exotic paradise.
A popular honeymoon and family holiday destination, Mauritius has all the quintessential island attractions; the gorgeous natural surrounds, an incredible range of land - and sea-based activities and memorable tourist attractions. But the true magic of this unique destination is the phenomenal Mauritian customs, the array of religions that are practised on the island and the wonderful multi-cultural local people.
These unique aspects of the country are seen in the array of flavourful Mauritian dishes, the fabulous architecture, the religious buildings and the array of festivals and public holidays observed in Mauritius.
Planning your trip over one of these incredible holidays can give you greater insight into the island and its wonderful facets - any of these public holidays in Mauritius are worth experiencing. There are 15 annual public holidays in Mauritius but only seven of them are fixed. They are the 1st and 2nd of January, the 1st of February, the 12th of March, the 1st of May, the 2nd of November and the 25th of December.
The other 8 public holidays centre on religious festivals, the dates of which change every year. These religious holidays vary based on the lunar calendar and they may affect opening hours in certain parts of the island.
Interested in finding out more? Here’s a list of the public holidays in Mauritius:
Tues 1 January - New Year’s Day and Wed 2 January - New Year Holiday
As is the case with most destinations around the world, Mauritius celebrates the New Year in style on the 31st of December and allows for two public holidays following the celebrations. Festivities include impressive fireworks displays across the island, upbeat music (like Sega) parties and incredible meals to name but a few of them, and celebrations can sometimes last a few days or even a full week. The 1st of January is generally a day for families to spend quality time together.
January/February - Thaipoosam Cavadee
Thaipoosam Cavadee is a hugely important religious festival in the Indo-Mauritian community for those with Tamil heritage. In actual fact, this Hindu festival lasts over ten days, with parades, rituals, prayer and festivities taking centre stage. It’s an incredible festival to witness while on holiday in Mauritius.
Fri 1 February - Abolition of Slavery
This is a hugely significant day in Mauritian history and is also known as “Abolition Day”. The 1st of February marks the day that the British abolished slavery on the island back in 1835. This momentous day finally saw the end of the practice which had been a reality in the country since the mid-1600s. The abolition of slavery was seen as a new dawn for many and the start of modern day Mauritius.
January/February - Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)
Mauritius is home to a small Chinese community - also known as Sino-Mauritians - which is why Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is celebrated in Mauritius, with the largest festivities happening in Port Louis (also where the main concentration of Sino-Mauritius live). This date changes based on the Chinese Calendar but always falls towards the beginning of the year. This wonderful festival, celebrated by even non-Chinese Mauritians across the island is about the coming of spring and the beautiful surrounds of Mauritius.
Phenomenal traditional meals and parades, as well as fireworks, are a huge part of this festival as people reflect on the year that has past and prepares for the one ahead.
February/March - Maha Shivaratri (Hindu Pilgrimage)
Maha Shivaratri is an incredibly important Hindu festival, one that celebrates the marriage of Shiva to Parvati and is also known as the Great Night of Shiva. The festival usually takes place at the beginning of the year, and centres on a huge pilgrimage to the sacred Lake Ganga Talao, situated in the tropical interior of the island. It’s a hugely symbolic pilgrimage and the sight of all the people around the lake is something you will remember for the rest of time.
Tue 12 March - National Day / Independence Day
The Mauritian Independence Day is another significant day for the country and every year, this date is marked by incredible festivities to celebrate the fact that on the 12th of March 1968, Mauritius was finally ruled independence from Britain. From that day on, Mauritius was finally able to enjoy its independence from Britain and any of the other colonialists. Today, it’s a spectacular, colourful celebration that takes place across the island, but the main festivities can be found in Port Louis.
March/April - Ugadi (Hindu New Year)
Celebrated by Telegu Mauritians, this holiday usually falls in March or April. This wonderful New Year celebration comes with a plethora of religious customs (such as bathing one's head in coconut oil) as well as local Mauritian elements (such as food and music). It’s a day for family, special meals, prayer and cultural events as well as small gifts. As with all New Years, it’s a time of reflection and of looking to the future. This is a hugely important day for the Telegu as it's rumoured to be the day that Brahma, the god of the universe, came into being as well as the date of death of Krishna.
Wed 1 May - Labour Day
This special day has been around in Mauritius since 1938 but was officially made a holiday in 1950. Better labour practices were initiated by the Mauritian government back in 1938 as a measure to improve the work environment and work standards and to review the rights of labourers - a sure sign that the times of indentured labourers, and their lack of rights, became a definite part of the country’s history.
June - Eid-Ul-Fitr - End of Ramadan
This festival is a significant Muslim holiday throughout the world. Technically a festival that centres on the “Breaking of the Fast”, it marks the end of the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan. The date varies from year to year.
August/September - Ganesh Chaturthi
This important Hindu festival is occasionally also referred to as “Vinayak Chaturthi” and is celebrated around August or September each year. Ganesh Chaturthi has been observed in Mauritius since 1896 and it’s considered the most celebrated holiday of the year, making it a truly incredible time to be in Mauritius.
October/November - Divali Festival of Lights
Divali, the fabulous Festival of Lights which is also known as Deepavali, is a Hindu festival that is celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. Unsurprisingly, this festival is characterised by a huge number of lights and outstanding fireworks displays (to ward off evil spirits) and is well worth experiencing in Mauritius.
Sat 2 November - Arrival of Indentured Labourers
This day commemorates the arrival of indentured labourers to the island of Mauritius after the abolition of slavery in 1834. It’s celebrated every year on 2 November.
Wed 25 December - Christmas
One of the most popular times to be in Mauritius is over Christmas. This public holiday is celebrated across the island with church masses, wonderful feasts and festivities. And with perfect weather over this time of year, it’s truly a magical time to be in Mauritius.
If you are interested in celebrating one of these magical public holidays in Mauritius, then one of the four Mauritian Sun Resorts is a perfect place to do just that. These important public holidays are recognised at the hotels with special treats, feasts and festivities - you don’t want to miss out on these!