One of the things we’ve enjoyed most about Flic en Flac, Mauritius is the fact that the locals are so visible, especially on the beach. It really shouldn’t come as a shock, but after our time in Southeast Asia where the beaches were void of residents enjoying the beach, it has been a welcome scene to see native people – not just tourists – able to enjoy the beauty that surrounds them.
We’ve watched residents head out for early morning swims, Sunday picnics, evening jogs on the beach and often just to hang out. It’s a natural gathering place and the scenery is astounding.
We were fortunate enough to be out on the beach during a Hindu seaside festival on Mauritius and it was quite the sight. About 50 – 60 percent of the Mauritian population is Hindu, which is a religion we admittedly know little about. Like so much of this journey, we learn by simply observing and asking a few questions. From what we gathered, this particular Hindu seasise festival on Mauritius was an offering to the sea – or to the god of the sea – and was a time for family to come together in prayer.
Hindus of all ages dressed in traditional clothes descended on the public beach to celebrate. Devotees, either alone or in small groups, set up rocks on the shoreline as a place to present their gift. A small fire was made on the sand from which joss sticks were lit and placed in the sand or into fruit. Banana bunches, apples, melons and freshly cracked open coconuts were the standard offering, but we also saw flowers, garments and coins.
After saying prayers around the offering, they would then go to the sea’s edge and scoop water into a tin cup. One person would then pour the water back into the sea from high above their head, with the others touching the person doing the pouring, all while more prayers were said. As high tide approached, the sea consumed their offerings, leaving only the large rocks behind.
We want to know: Have you ever witnessed a Hindu seaside festival on Mauritius? Have you wandered into any other festivals during your travels? Tell us in the comments!