One of the greatest ways to experience the culture and tradition of a new place is to attend a local festival. Festivals often come about as a result of timeless beliefs and legends that are celebrated by locals, and you can celebrate them too. Here are some festivals worth attending when you’re visiting one of our destinations.
Holi Festival - this traditionally Indian festival is celebrated in many places around the world, but the Mauritian people and the atmosphere of the island are what make this so unique. Holi is the festival of colours and often you will find Hindus and non-Hindus alike throwing colourful powders and water on one another, celebrating the arrival of spring. Besides witnessing the beauty of the event, you can also enjoy marvellous photo opportunities as the colourful powders fill the air. The festival usually takes place at the beginning of March to symbolise the arrival of Spring.
Maha Shivaratri - this festival is celebrated in honour of Siva, the Hindu God, and sees devotees who are wearing spotless white carry kanwar, which are wooden arches covered with flowers, to the Grand Bassin. It is one of the most popular festivals in Mauritius, and is attended by locals and holidaymakers alike. The festival takes place in February and is celebrated with great excitement and devotion.
Creole Festival - if you are even remotely interested in food (and seriously, who isn’t?) then this festival is a must for you to attend! It is a six day foodie event that celebrates everything Creole, including their arts, music, culture, history, dance and of course cuisine. Visit the main areas in Mahé, Praslin or La Digue for this phenomenal foodie affair. It takes place towards the end of the year, usually in October.
Semaine de la Francophonie - the name of this festival is quite a mouthful, and with good reason. It celebrates the French culture in the Seychelles and brings with it singing, dancing and of course eating. Held annually in March, you can enjoy French music, fashion and food along with gorgeous art exhibitions and the spirit of the Seychellois!
The National Day - given that many Maldive locals are Muslims, there are a great deal of Islamic festivals to attend. This festival in particular celebrates the first day of Rabee-ul Awwal and welcomes a great deal of marches and parades across the Maldives. The timing of the holiday depends on the Islamic calendar and falls between February and March.
Independence Day - food, festivities, parades and performances are all on the agenda for this widely celebrated day. Held annually on the 26th of July, you can enjoy Maldivian hospitality, history and of course culture at its very best.
Leu Tempo Festival - regarded as one of the best, if not the best, festivals to attend on the island, Leu Tempo Festival sees an array of artists from around the world pull through to the island to take part in theatrical performances. There are of course delectable treats to accompany the entertaining performances, along with retellings of the island’s history. The festival is usually held in May for three days.
Le Grand Raid - calling all adventure enthusiasts! Although not a festival, this is one of the island’s biggest annual events and is not for the faint of heart. It is an ultramarathon race and features a 162 km route with 9643 m of elevation gain. It attracts competitors from all over the world and lures more than 2500 competitors. It takes place annually in October (so get training).
Sauti za Busara - considered to be East Africa’s number one music festival, this is an event all music-lovers have to attend. It is one of the most authentic expressions of contemporary African culture and shows off East Africa’s finest talent. Enjoy the carnivals and parades that accompany it, and revel in the pride of the locals who soak up every minute of their idols on stage. Dates change every year but it is often held in February over the course of four days.
Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival - it’s right there in the name. This festival celebrates Zanzibar’s powdery-white beaches and all they have to offer and is held in honour of the beaches’ unparallelled beauty. The festival consists of sports tournaments and more interesting events to attend such as bartending competitions, yoga classes on the beach, drumming workshops and, as any good festival should have, there is plenty of delicious cuisine to try out. The festival takes place in September where the average high temperature is about 27°C.
Festivals aren’t the only way to experience these islands. Get in touch with us to find out more about your dream holiday and what to do in whichever destination you’ve decided to visit. Don’t forget to browse our specials page to avoid missing out on your next holiday!