One of the things that makes me want to travel more and more, is the desire to see lifestyles and cultures. I love showing my children the diversity of our beautiful world, and how customs and traditions brighten up countries and make them unique.
If you know you are going to be in a country for a big religious festival, it is certainly wise to read up on it before you go. These events are held very close to people’s hearts and making sure you are seen to show respect is of utmost importance. However, seeing how a country celebrates significant events, is nothing short of magical. And let’s face it, we do all love to celebrate!
Holi in Mauritius
We were lucky enough to visit Mauritius earlier this year, and is really is a slice of tropical heaven: Warm seas, palm trees and white sand on the coast and lush, green forests, lagoons and waterfalls in the interior.
With just over half the population practicing hinduism, Holi is celebrated widely on the island. However, you will find it is celebrated by almost everyone, regardless of their religion. The festival begins with lighting bonfires on the beaches that symbolises the triumph of good over evil known as ‘Holika Dahan’, accompanied by folk songs and dancing.
Celebrations then turn to the streets, where the tradition is to throw handfuls of brightly coloured powder (gull) over one another, and soak each other with pichkaris, made of local Mauritian bamboo stalks. If you’re in the open, you are fair game! Port Louis, the capital, is a good place to experience this!
Holi tends to be in early March
Eid in Maldives
If you are thinking of holidays to The Maldives this year or next, you may consider timing your visit with Eid. At the end of Ramadan, the Muslim community celebrates with Eid al Fitr. You can expect parades and music shows, as well as performances of traditional dance. The celebrations will differ from atol to atol, but there’s likely to be games of Baibalaa (similar to Kabadi) as well as many family feasts and get togethers. When the celebrating is done, remember there are those beautiful beaches to relax on …
Eid al Fitr is usually in June / July
Diwali in Jaipur
Diwali is the biggest religious festival in India, and spans over a 5 day period. Diwali is a ‘festival of lights’ where victory of light over darkness is celebrated. It also marks the start of a new financial year and the deity of prosperity is honoured.
Jaipur, the ‘pink’ city in Rajistan, becomes an illuminated wonder during Diwali. The whole city is lit up – the buildings, markets, streets and homes. There is even a competition for the best illuminated place.
Apparently, the fireworks and firecrackers are pretty much going off for five days solid …The atmosphere is alive and quite literally, electric, as the residents and tourists basically have a five day street party to celebrate.
I’ve seen celebrations for all these festivals in London and I’ve seen the happiness, delight and excitement they induce, and I would love to travel to these places to see them too. Have you visited any country during a religious festival, and what did you experience? I would love to know!
Diwali is October / November
This post has been written in collaboration
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