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Mauritius and religions

Religious culture in Mauritius, a model of tolerance

27 juillet 2012

Mauritian culture is based on the diversity of the population, that’s why there is no “official religion” in Mauritius. Hindus, Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and others from all over the globe live in harmony and respect the free practice of all religions in Mauritius. The ancestral melting-pot that is Mauritian culture allows different faith communities to cohabit in mutual respect. Mauritius is an island of temples, churches and mosques.

Hinduism and the Indian and Tamil population : religious majority in Mauritius

Temple Hindou The most practiced religion in Mauritius is Hinduism practiced by the Indian and Tamil communities in Mauritius. This religion and its local variants are practiced all over the country in temples and other places of worship. The most sacred of sites for this religion in Mauritius is not far from the Mauritian town of Curepipe, at Grand Bassin Lake. Several temples and a spectacular statue of Shiva are to be found on the shores of the lake. At Poste de Flacq, you will find the most popular temple in Mauritius. Ever more temples are springing up on the island, one of the newest is found on the northern most point of Mauritius, next to Cap Malhereux cemetery. Warm and welcoming, the Indian and Tamil Hindu communities organise many colourful celebrations in the temples of Mauritius. It would be a shame to miss the festivals of Mauritius’ premier religion. Witness the Maha Shivaratree festival or give and receive gifts under the firework displays organised for Diwali. You will find specific dates for these festivals on the official Tourism Office website.

Islam in Mauritius, the second biggest religious group

Mosquée Around 20% of the Mauritian population is Muslim, this group is a model of tolerance and spirituality. The once exclusively working class population constructed mosques around the island in order to practice their religion. The oldest mosques in Mauritius are Al-Aqsa in the capital Port Louis and Rivère Citron Mosque ; they were both built over a century and a half ago. Jummah Masjid is an architectural gem and is worth a trip to the Mauritian capital for a visit, if you are Muslim or just a curious visitor. Muslims in Mauritius live in perfect harmony with their religion and other religious faiths in Mauritius ; the Islamic calendar is punctuated with celebrations including Mi’raj that represents the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to heaven or Mid-Sha’ban that precedes the beginning of Ramadan, these festivals are part and parcel of Mauritian culture. If you want to know the exact dates, times and locations of Muslim festivals in Mauritius contact one of the mosques, they will be happy to give you details.

Christianity, another religion in Mauritius

Eglise à Maurice Despite the small number of Christians on the island, there are many churches. There are more than 20 churches to visit and the prettiest is certainly the church at Cap Malheureux (pictured) with its whitewashed clapboard walls and bright red roof that looks out to the seemingly infinite Indian Ocean. Mass is celebrated every Sunday, religion in Mauritius is certainly traditional. Prayer groups are held on Mondays and on Saturdays evangelical services are held. Different church groups get together throughout the week. For more information, go to the Mauritian Church website (unfortunately only available in French).

Buddhism in Mauritius

Offrands Grand Bassin Buddhism is Mauritius’ fourth religion, but with only 1% of the population practicing, its impact on Mauritian culture and society is not very great. This religion was brought to Mauritius by Asian migrants at the beginning of the 19th century when there was a free immigration policy in Mauritius. As is the case for other religious groups in Mauritius, the Buddhist population has its own places of worship on the island. There are several temples in Port-Louis’ Chinatown. This religion participates in Mauritian culture, Chinese New Year festival and the Lantern Festival are both popular celebrations in the Mauritian calendar. Dates are available on the Mauritius Tourism Office website.

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