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Art and Culture

A kaleidoscope of different populations, the artistic and cultural background of Mauritius is derived from Africa, Asia and Europe. Turned to the sea, it hasn't however forgotten its rites, rituals and a particular way of life.

Mauritius has a rich history in the field of art and culture. Being a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious country, it has inherited the great cultural traditions of Europe, Asia and Africa. During its history of two and a half centuries, these traditions have been perpetuated by its prople and by a great number of writers, poets, sculptors and artists.

Cultural activity is lively and diversified due to the existence of a wide range of cultural associations and societies which have as objective the promotion of arts and culture. Mauritis possess one of the oldest archive centres in the southern hemisphere, dating back to the beginning of French settlement. The oldest theatre was built during the early years of British occupation.

Mauritius has the oldest press in the region and the numerous daily and weekly newspapers regularla carry features on cultural matters. Radio and television have broad-based programmes and promote as well as transmit a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.

The cultural policy of the government is to preserve and promote ancestral traditions, values, resources and cultural heritage. It is the policy to ‘cherish all linguistic and cultural diversities where each and every individual can safeguard, promote and be proud of his roots and where he can affectively contribute to nation building in the context of a dynamic pluri-cultural mauritianism.

The Mauritian identity is not seen as a uniform and static concept. It is dynamic and is constantly evolving through interaction with other cultures and ideas. A separate Ministry for Arts and Culture has been set up with a view to provide a platform for the development of all art forms which are the richest expressions of our country’s culture. It organises a number of programmes which include drama festivals, films festivals, workshops for artists and painters, music and song festivals. The Mauritian sega is a national emblem that unites the different ethnic groups. In 1986, a copyright Act was passed to give legal protection to authors and composers and to provide the necessary impetus to intellectual activity.

Mauritius people comprise of 68% Indo-Mauritians, 27% Creoles, 3% Sino-Mauritian and 2% Franco-Mauritian. Religion wise the Mauritian populace consists of 48% Hindus, 23.6% Roman Catholics, 16.6% Muslims, 8.6% other Christians and 3.2% of other categories. Among these various categories, the Hindus are predominantly agricultural workers. Muslims and Creoles are usually artisans. African Creoles are primarily fishermen, service holders, transportation workers and dockworkers. The Franco-Mauritians are mainly engaged in sugar and manufacturing industries. The Chinese are usually traders and restaurant owners.

Mauritius society and culture is best understood putting an insight into the music and dance, art and entertainment, fashion, festivals and cuisine of Mauritius. Mauritius music and dance is characterized by the sega dance that has its roots in Africa. The Ravane, Coco and the Triangle are the important musical instruments used to play sega music.

The art and entertainment of Mauritius is under the Ministry of Arts and Culture. Drama is an important performing art in Mauritius. Serge Constantin Theater and Pointe Canon Open air Theater are bodies involved in promoting drama.

All tourists to Mauritius are delighted by the varied and interesting cuisine, fashion and handicrafts of the place. The cuisine comprising Mediterranean delicacies, Asian recipes and Continental items are a Epicureans delight. Quatre Bornes Fashion technology, Vega D-Mile fashion, Flacq District fashion all contribute towards fashion industry of Mauritius.

Mauritius festivals feature festivals of all religions. Among the Hindu festivals Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi and Mahashivaratri are observed with fun and gaiety. Christmas and New Year are celebrated with music and dance. The Chinese New Year is celebrated with pomp and grandeur. The Muslim festival of Eid-Ul-Fitr is observed with reverence and cheerfulness.







 

 

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