Facts on Mauritius
Accommodation in Mauritius
Beach Hotels
Budget Hotels
Apartments
City Hotels

Things to See in Mauritius
Beaches
Natural Beauties
Islets & Marine Parks
Dive Sites

Sports & Recreation
Island Activities
Sea Activities
Adventure Sports
Nightlife in Mauritius
Sega Folkoric Dance


Island Tips
What / Where to Eat
Shopping in Mauritius
Weather in Mauritius
Facts on Mauritius
Wedding in Mauritius

Geography of Mauritius

The island of Mauritius is of volcanic origin and sits on an area of 1865 km², under the Tropics of Capricorn, 800 kms from the eastern coast of Madagascar, 200 kms to the north-east of Réunion and 600kms to the West of Rodrigues.

The land is fairly flat, with the lush and greens of our mountain chains of Moka, Black River, Grand Port and Plaine des Papayes adding interest to the topography of the island. The highest peak of Mauritius is Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire, at 828m above sea level.

Our coastal regions are relatively dry, with an average temperature of 30°C in summer and 25°C in summer, ideal for the cultivation of sugarcane.

Gracing the covers of numerous holiday magazines are pictures of crystal clear waters and white sand. And we owe the calmness and clarity of our beautiful sandy beaches to the almost continuous barrier reefs surrounding the island.



Language

Despite our small population (of just over a million), you may be surprised by the linguistic mix!

English is the official language of parliament, the Constitution, traffic regulations and school administration. But French is more widely spoken and is the language of mass media - 80% of the newspapers are written in French.

The "Kreol Morisien" is the local dialect, spoken and understood by nearly the entire population and is in fact a reflection of the melting pot! Although it is mostly derived from French, the kreol has been adapted from English, Hindu, Bhojpuri (indian dialect widely spoken amongst Hindus in villages) and Chinese.



Society and culture

A melting pot of cultures in Mauritius, originating mostly from South East Asia, India and Africa. You will have the opportunity in Mauritius to see the various places of worship of Hindus, Tamils, Madras, Muslims, Chinese and the Créoles, each more impressive and intricately designed than the other.

Because many locals do not have the dexterity of buildings the temples, mosques and pagodas, foreign artists are called upon to make the sculptures and the deities are brought to life, in a myriad of bright colours.

Even though traditional values are slowly eroding, many families have kept their traditional values, and they are most observable in their tastes of food, dressing habits and weddings.

Traditional Weddings

Weddings are celebrated in pomp, especially in the Hindu community, where they last longest, over 4 days of rituals and celebration, where flowers, water, honey, milk and incense are always present for symbolism. And of course, the more people the merrier. Green tents are usually erected in the yard and food is served on a banana leaf and food is eaten with the hands.

In Christian weddings, rice and grains are thrown to the bride and groom as they leave the Church, a symbol of fertility and fruitfulness. After the exchange of vows at the Church, the guests are invited for a dinner or cocktail, after which the bride and groom set off for their honeymoon.

Muslims usually celebrate and obtain blessings at the Mosque, the bride and groom in separate mosques, before converging for dinner or cocktail, after the exchange of vows in front of the imam (Muslim officiant). A couple of days before the wedding, the bride has both hands made up with intricate designs with mehendi, an ochre-coloured paste, made from the leaf of the henna plant.

The Chinese weddings are slightly different to those celebrated in South East Asia. An auspicious is first chosen by the elders, based on the lunar calendar. Most often, it is a white wedding, in the conventional white bridal gown, and vows are exchanged in a Catholic or Christian Church in the afternoon. After the Church, guests are invited to the traditional dinner, on tables set for ten covers and each table is served with ten different dishes.



Séga - The Sensual Dance

The séga song and dance in Mauritius are a soulful expression of feelings for many locals. When conditions of work for the African slaves during the 18th century were miserable, they could numb their unhappiness drinking the arrack (obtained from the sugarcane), sing and dance the night away to the rhythmic beats of the séga.

Today, times have changed but the séga has maintained its significance in our society. Many young aspiring and successful local singers (mostly descendants of the African slaves) have kept the tradition alive. They are putting into words, poignant messages of peace and love and sung in our mother tongue, Créole.

The traditional instruments used are guitar, the 'triangle', (a piece of iron rod made to the shape of a triangle) and the ravanne, which have small iron plates on the side, to add more interest. To ensure a better sound from the ravanne, the musician usually pre-heats the surface in the naked flame.

A very sexy dance, the séga involves a lot of hip movement and only the brightest and most colourful costumes are good enough to dance the séga. The skirts are long, ruffled and cut very wide to allow for the spinning movements.

Where can I watch it: mostly in hotels and in a few selected restaurants: Le Café de la Plage at Sunset Boulevard in Grand Baie.