Saturday, 20 November 2010

Diwali

A lot of the Mauritian population is Hindu, so Diwali is an important holiday. It is the festival of light, celebrating the triumph of good over evil (or so we were told). It was quite funny. We weren’t quite sure what Diwali was… so we asked Yogesh who is one of our Hindu Mauritian friends. He had trouble explaining it… he seemed to be cracking under the pressure, so quickly passed the question on to his cousin who gave us a fuller explanation. It takes place in either October or November and this year it was on the 5th of November. Katie, Charlie and I had been invited to spend Diwali with Yogesh and his family. So after work we got the bus to the south of the island, Mahébourg. It gets dark quite quickly, at around 6.30 every evening, so we were able to appreciate the light shows and fireworks! Hindu families put up long lines of brightly coloured lights, which stretch out over their houses. They were beautiful! There were also lots of fireworks that people would set off at the side of the road and would arch over the bus! Maybe not the safest fireworks display I’ve ever been to…but all we had to pay was the bus fare.

Once we arrived in Mahébourg we went to meet Yogesh’s family. They were very welcoming and we joined them to eat some Indian sweets! Diwali is about sharing and giving so many Hindus make Indian sweets and give them to their neighbours. So we munched and then Yogesh’s mum had prepared us some dinner, so we munched some more!

Mauritius isn’t the liveliest of places at night (due to buses stopping at about 8pm) but Diwali was definitely an exception. Many families gathered and walked around town viewing the light displays on people’s houses. Some were VERY impressive.

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