A festive season under the stars

Festive season
As the festive season is approaching, Mauritius lights up with vivid summer colours. From November to January, the younger ones enjoy long end-of-year school holidays while the whole island immerses into merry and colourful excitement that gives unique character to this festive time in the typical and exuberant island style.

Along with summer and the holidays, the seasonal fruits come in abundance. The mangoes, litchis and pineapples pile up on stands along the roads, making bright patches among the bustling activities of the hawkers selling an incredible range of the most unexpected articles. On the beaches it’s time for big family gatherings while the hawkers settle down under the filao trees to offer fresh coconut milk or homemade ice-cream.
In Mauritius, Christmas is celebrated outdoors and under a starry sky. Around the Christmas tree that is often displayed in the veranda, the family gathers for a festive meal with key dishes such as fresh fish, smoked marlin, spicy meat with palm heart and of course, a delicious fruit salad slightly spiced with chilly.

As New Year’s eve draws nearer, one can hear people greeting each other with a cheerful “Banané” which is the Creole word to express one’s warm wishes for the coming year. Shops play music loudly during this festive time which ends with a Chinese tradition: the inevitable fire crackers and fireworks, that light up the tropical sky. On the beaches and in homes, it’s time for fun and gaiety accentuated by the catching beat of the drums and the sega songs written specially for New Year.

Along the roads, the flamboyant trees are covered with clusters of orange or crimson flowers. These will make up the bouquet “Banané” which are hung on trucks and buses on the road until the time when indolent and tropical rejoicing recedes towards mid- January, and life gets back to normal.

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