Mauritius in November
It’s November in Mauritius, and things are heating up. Not only are we looking forward to one of our best-loved annual festivals, we’re anticipating the arrival of our southern hemisphere summer, where the days can be hot and humid but often tempered by a lovely refreshing tropical shower. You can expect to enjoy around 7 hours of sunshine a day and steady temperatures of around 28°C - 30°C.
Sunday 1 November: All Saints Day
All Saints Day is a public holiday and Christian festival in Mauritius, in which all known and unknown Christian saints are celebrated, and people of all faiths visit the cemetery to pay homage to their departed parents and other family members. Catholics attend mass early in the morning, tombs are cleaned and adorned with decorations, and the cemeteries are crowded with people.
Monday 2 November: Arrival of Indentured Labourers Day
This national day of remembrance is also observed in various other countries in the Caribbean and South America, and commemorates the arrival of workers from the Indian subcontinent as indentured labour. In Mauritius, the first labourers were employed by the trading company Hunter Arbuthnot & Company, and worked on the Belle Alliance or Antoinette sugar estates in Riviere du Rempart district. Today, it is these particular workers who are commemorated at Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site on 2 November every year. Their arrival sparked an influx of half a million indentured labourers between 1835 and 1910, which had a profound impact on Mauritian life and culture.
Wednesday 11 November: Divali
Unsurprisingly, Diwali – the ancient Hindu festival of lights – is celebrated with great fervour in Mauritius, with oil lamps and flickering candles outside every home to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness. The festival, which coincides with the start of the Hindu New Year, sees people clean and decorate their homes and workplaces and participate in family prayers. This is then followed by fireworks and a huge family feast – including mithai – and an exchange of gifts.
Photos: All Saints, Mauritius, Diwali