Spring Festival in Mauritius
February 22 2019
February 22 2019
When you think of Mauritius, what images does your mind conjure up? Long stretches of snow-white sandy beaches lined by palm trees? Glittering tropical waters that are hard to resist? Or perhaps a dreamlike luxury hotel, surrounded by lush gardens and offering the finest luxury comforts?
Many understand Mauritius to be a beautiful destination, but few realise that beyond the beaches and exclusive hotels, Mauritius has so much to offer discerning and intrepid travellers. Vibrant cities juxtapose with lush tropical interiors, historical sites fuse with modern offerings and the natural surrounds offer a myriad of exceptional activities, both on land and in the water.
The historical and cultural landscapes that form such crucial parts of this destination are some of the most intriguing aspects of Mauritius. Colonialists, slaves and indentured labourers are central to much of the island’s history and most Mauritians are descendants of people from Africa, Asia, Indian and Europe—it’s a phenomenal mix of people, who, despite their differences, have created a unified country, where everyone is accepted regardless of where they come from or what religion they practice. This is made abundantly clear in the diverse array of Mauritian food (many dishes have strong influences from Indian, Asian and European cuisines) well as the colourful festivals, celebrations and religious observations that are recognised in Mauritius.
One such celebration is that of the Chinese New Year or the Chinese Spring Festival in Mauritius. Here’s what you need to know about this fabulous celebration:
About 3% of the population in Mauritius is Chinese
As mentioned above, Mauritius is a country that has a wonderful multi-ethnic, multi-cultural population, and a portion of that population is made up of Sino-Mauritians, those with Chinese descent. For this population, the Chinese Spring Festival in Mauritius is, naturally, very important. Although the population is fairly small (around 3% of the total population) it has a significant part in Mauritius and this festival is widely, and fervently, celebrated across the island.
It’s a festive time to be in Mauritius, with Spring Festival festivities including firecrackers (in line with tradition, they are meant to ward off evil spirits as each new year kicks off), a wealth of sensational food, Lion Dances performed by Chinese dancers and colourful, dramatic parades with outstanding costumes.
It’s a public holiday
The Chinese New Year is a public holiday in Mauritius, allowing everyone who wishes to enjoy the festivities the chance to do so. Apart from incredible festive events and spectacles, you may notice that there’s a dominant colour for this festival, red, which according to Chinese beliefs, is meant to symbolise (and manifest) happiness and luck.
It’s best experienced in Chinatown
Port Louis is by far the best place to witness this extraordinary celebration, with the main hub of excitement and festivities taking place in Port Louis’ very own Chinatown. The streets are lined with red lanterns and vibrant processions weave through the streets, delighting locals and visitors alike, as the smell of the incredible Chinese street food wafts through the air.
The shops and houses are typically decorated with traditional ornaments (which have been vigorously cleaned beforehand). Traditional foods served in abundance are a central part of this festival and are said to encourage a bountiful year and traditional Chinese New Year cakes (“wax” cakes also known as Nian Gao) are enjoyed and shared among families and friends.
Hotels celebrate the Spring Festival in Mauritius in special ways
The fabulous news for those who don’t want to venture too far from their hotel is that most of the resorts and hotels celebrate Spring Festival in Mauritius in memorable ways. From red Chinese lanterns, umbrellas and fans in common areas to themed buffets, novel tasting menus, parades, fireworks and shows, and even perhaps a lucky red envelope on your pillow, you are sure to have a magical Chinese New Year experience.
This celebration takes place around January or February each year
The phenomenal and vibrant Chinese Spring Festival in Mauritius is celebrated in style each year. The exact date of the festival varies from year to year and is based on the Chinese calendar. It will normally take place on the second full moon after the winter solstice, in line with the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so if you would like to ensure you experience this fabulous festival, be sure to book your dates carefully!