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Celebrating Diwali in Mauritius

10/21/2008 04:59:00 PM

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is a beautiful island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometers east of Madagascar.

Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic groups. A majority of the republic's residents are the descendants of people from the Indian subcontinent. Mauritius also contains about 63% of the total population from India. And of these 80% are Hindus. Needless to say, the Diwali festival is celebrated with great fanfare in this Island since many years.

The festival of lights in this Island is marked with lighting of traditional diyas/lamps in the individual households and commercial establishments. Rows of twinkling candles, lamps and colorful electric bulbs of all sorts transform the island into another realm of fairytales.

The festival here represents the triumph of good over evil in Lord Rama's victory over Ravana and Lord Krishna's destruction of the demon Narakasura. People here celebrate Diwali for a new beginning and exorcising the darkness of evil from their lives as well as the society. And lighting lamps and feasting is symbolic of this phenomenon.

The Diwali day in Mauritius is especially significant for the Hindu business community, as it is considered the account closing day of the year. These people on this day close their accounts and balances for the previous year, and go unburdened into the next. In the morning, people pray to their revered gods and goddesses. The female members of the household perform aarti with pooja thalis in hand and all the family members seek the blessings of the almighty for a healthy and prosperous year. They then visit their relatives and fellow Indians and share greetings and Diwali gifts.

The custom of distributing Diwali sweets to friends, and neighbors of all faith has made Diwali a popular festival in Mauritius. Those missing close ones back home during the festive occasion send Diwali Gifts to India to show their love and affection for them.

Celebrating Diwali in Mauritius truly represents its unique the multicultural spirit that has made the place heaven on earth.

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