Christmas in Mauritius
19th December 2023
The winter blues are official according to a new poll from the Post Office. It shows that 81% of Brits admit to hating winter, with dark mornings (49%), slipping on ice (44%) and having a cold face (41%) top of the list. Nearly nine in 10 people are considering seeking out winter sun — with Indian Ocean destinations high on the list.
If you’re among those dreaming of sunning yourself on a tropical beach beside coconut palms before diving into a sparkling sea, perhaps you should consider a Christmas in Mauritius.
Christmas in Mauritius is celebrated at the peak of summer, when the temperature hovers around 30ºC, and the island is at its very best. The Flamboyant Tree – or Flame Tree – with its fiery red flowers, blooms at Christmas, mangos and litchis, bursting with flavour, are ripe and ready to eat, and the sparkling sea is the perfect temperature for a dip.
What’s more, you can enjoy the classic European Christmas traditions, but in the tropics, with a Mauritian twist.
The Spirit of Christmas
Although a Christian festival, Christmas is celebrated by all communities in Mauritius, and the spirit of Christmas is found islandwide.
Carols are played, and sung live, in the islands’ Christmas-themed shopping malls are beautifully decorated with festive window displays, Christmas trees, and even Santa on his sleigh being pulled by reindeer, among fake snow and ice. Most Mauritian kids believe in Santa and can visit him in his grotto, while fairy lights are at their sparkling best during late-night shopping trips. Apart from the tropical vibe, you’d think you were at home.
Connecting with the meaning of Christmas in Mauritius is also easy, with over 150 Christian churches on the island, offering carol singing and services.
Christmas Eve is a big day for Mauritian families. First up comes the big Christmas clean. Then they traditionally decorate the Christmas tree - either a filao (casuarina) tree or artificial one - and their houses.
Gifts are exchanged and placed under it, to be opened on Christmas morning. In the evening, some people go out into the lively towns, Catholics go to mass and others have a special dinner or a BBQ with their families.
A big family meal equals happiness for most Mauritians, and on Christmas day - a public holiday in Mauritius - families typically gather for a big lunch or dinner at home - or at their parents or grandparents.
Many families also go to the beach (and some camp overnight), sipping ice-cold drinks to the beat of the Mauritian Sega under the shade of coconut palms, dressed in a summer dress, shorts and a tee shirt or a bikini.
Festive at the beach
There’s a festive atmosphere at lively Flic en Flac, close to Sunlife’s west coast hotels, Sugar Beach and La Pirogue. The beach is alive with sega music and hawkers selling gadjaks (traditional Mauritian snacks) and visitors and locals mingle in the bars, restaurants and clubs.
There are big parties with DJs in outdoor spaces around the island, at this time of year.
Meanwhile, near Long Beach and Ambre hotels on the East Coast, summer days are spent on the beach along the East Coast or on the island of Ile aux Cerfs, with lively family picnics. Visitors can enjoy a seasonal buffet at the feet in the sand restaurant, with a complimentary boat shuttle, sunbed and welcoming cocktail thrown in.
The colourful bougainvillea and bright red hibiscus used to decorate the Christmas table, help create a sense of place.
Christmas dinner can take many forms in Mauritius, as the food served on Christmas Day will depend on the islanders’ ethnicity and taste. You can find traditional Western dishes such as roast turkey accompanied by French-style potato gratin and salad, grilled meat or seafood such as lobster and shrimp or Briani, spicy chicken curry or Chinese noodles.
The Yule Log is a popular dessert, although some people have Christmas pudding, and every Mauritian table is laden with bunches of litchis, mangoes and sun-drenched longans.
The evening usually ends in an explosion of fireworks, and firecrackers – originally a Chinese tradition.
A festive Christmas by the beach
Sunlife’s four beachside hotels have spared no expense to create a festive atmosphere with decorations and a spectacular programme for those wanting to spend Christmas [and New Year] in Mauritius.
A special time for guests is the tree lighting ceremony, led by the general managers.
As part of an action-packed family-friendly La Pirogue [link], for example, Christmas Eve features a family Christmas scavenger hunt in the morning, cocktails in the garden with Christmas carols and a delicious Christmas buffet dinner. Christmas Day starts with a Christmas parade and the arrival of Father Christmas and ends with a magic show.
Would you like to join us to celebrate Christmas in the tropical paradise of Mauritius?
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