About Mauritius- Population, Languages, Culture
If you are planning to travel somewhere this year the Mauritius could you the perfect the place for you. Its rich culture and diverse population make it one of the most unique places to visit. So, if you are wondering, why you should visit Mauritius then this article will make it clear for you.
With a population of over 1,273,061 people, Mauritius is a melting pot of diverse culture and languages. In this island country, African, Indian, French and Chinese cultures blend together to create a unique Mauritian culture. Thus, Mauritians can speak several languages from Creole, French, English to Bhojpuri, Cantonese and more.
There is a lot to know about Mauritius. Let’s start by knowing about the population, languages and Mauritian culture.
Multicultural Population of Mauritius
The lack of diverse casting in movies can disappoint you, but the multicultural society of Mauritia won’t. The 1.27 million people of Mauritia is culturally diverse. People from French to Indian ancestry make up the population of Mauritius.
Moreover, the population density of Mauritius is one of the highest in Africa. On average there are 625 people per square kilometre of the 2040 sq. km state island. The capital city, Port Luis is the most densely populated.
Since a large amount of the Mauritian population consists of people with Indian roots, Hinduism is the predominant religion here. Over 60% of the population is made up of Indo-Mauritian people.
Around 35% of the population is from the Creole ethnic group. This ethnic group consists of people of African descent with varying levels of Indian and French ancestry. Sino-Mauritians, that is, citizens with Chinese ancestry, make up around 3% of the population.
French-Mauritians make-up around 2% of the population and are the largest group of European origin residents. Other than them, there are more than 10,000 British, French and South African expatriates living in Mauritius.
Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists live peacefully in Mauritius. 52% of their population follows the Hindu religion. 32% of Christians and 15% of Muslims are also part of the population.
The life expectancy of Mauritian people is 75 years and their median age is 37. This indicates the overall good health of the Mauritian people. Along with this, the low infancy rate (9 deaths per 1000 lives) of the population is indicative of the good condition of the Mauritian health sector.
The people of Mauritius go by the motto En sel lepep, enn sel nation that translates to “as one people, as one nation.” Hence, despite the country having a large and multicultural population, the nation is united.
The proof of their unity is reflected in their stable democracy, growing economy and low crime rates. The tolerance of the Mauritian multicultural population makes the island nation and great place to live in.
Mauritians have the most multilingual conversations. All the languages they know seep into their everyday conversation whether it is a Hindi word in an English conversation or vice versa. One second they are speaking in Creole, the next they are switching to French then Bhojpuri or English.
Since the population of Mauritius is multicultural, it is of no surprise that the citizens there are multilingual. Most Mauritians can speak up to three or four languages. Prominent languages used in everyday conversations are Mauritian Creole, English and French.
The Mauritian Creole was developed as a means of communication between African slaves and French settlers in the 18th century. Today 90% of the Mauritian population know and speak this French-based Creole. Hence, it is the native language and lingua franca of Mauritius.
Indo-Mauritian people speak in Hindi, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati and Urdu. Bhojpuri is spoken by 5.4% Mauritian people and is the second most spoken language here. Sino-Mauritians speak in different Chinese languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese and Hakka. These languages are spoken only in certain communities rather than most locals.
- Language of the Administration
Constitutionally the island state of Mauritius has no official language. But in the National Assembly and for other administrative purposes English has to be used. Members of the Assembly can communicate in French but all the written documents are in English.
- Language of the Media
French is predominantly used in the Mauritian media. Although English and Creole are also used. In parodic or humorous quotes, Creole is used. Chinese and Indian languages are the least represented in the Mauritian media.
- Language of Education
French and English are compulsory subjects in Mauritian primary schools. Formally English is used in the schools. But teachers also use Creole to help students understand complicated topics. Chinese and Indian languages are taught as an optional third language for students.
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Diverse and Rich Culture of Mauritius
Mauritius is a melting pot of diverse cultures. People from different cultural and religious backgrounds come together to create a unique Mauritian culture. Festivals all year round, a diverse range of art and cuisine are all a part of their culture. Let’s take a peek at the culture of Mauritius.
From playing with colours in Holi to Sega dancing during the Sunburn Beach Festival, the Mauritian people are festive at heart. Popular festivals that occur in Mauritius are Cavadee, Chinese Spring Festival, Diwali, Thaipusam and Sunburn Beach Festival.
Thaipusam occurs during a full moon in the Tamil month, Thai. Cavadee is another Tamil event that is celebrated in January and February. Sword-climbing and fire-walking are two different ceremonies of this event. Diwali is full of lights and firecrackers to remind the Mauritians about the Hindu goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi and the return of Lord Rama.
The Chinese community of Mauritius celebrate the Chinese New Year during the Chinese Spring Festival. The Sunburn Beach Festival is a bi-annual festival that occurs during full moons. Mauritians sing, dance and celebrate this festival.
- Art and Literature
Mauritia has produced talented novelists, poets and artists throughout the years. Mauritian literature is mostly written in French. But English, Creole and various Indian languages are also used in Mauritian literature dealing with themes such as multiracialism, exoticism, post-modernism and different social conflicts.
Dev Virahsawmy introduced and tried to popularize the use of Mauritian Creole in literature. He had translated various plays of Shakespeare in Mauritian Creole. Other well-known writers of Mauritius are Ananda Devi, Malcolm de Chazal and Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio who won the 2008 Nobel Prize of Literature.
There are various art galleries in major towns of Mauritia. Abstract and representational art is mainly flourishing in Mauritia. Important cultural institutes of Mauritius are Palace Theatre and Port Luis Theatre. Le Morne Cultural Landscape and Aapravasi Ghat in Mauritius are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
African, Chinese, French, and Indian cuisines meet in Mauritius to create a unique national palette. Different cuisines combine with local spices, vegetables and fruits create delicious and exciting new dishes. Vindaye is an example of such a dish.
Vindaye is a Mauritian fried fish or octopus dish combined with garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, onion, vinegar and green pepper. Other than this Mauritians make different curries of beef, mutton or chicken. They add a Mauritian twist to these curries by adding pork, deer, octopus, wild boar, shrimp or deer.
A classic Mauritian dish is rougaille. It is so much more than a simple tomato sauce. It incorporates European herbs such as thyme and parsley with Indian flavourings such as coriander, garlic and ginger. This spicy sauce accompanies various fish and meat dishes.
Alouda is a favourite drink amongst Mauritians. It is a cool, milky beverage made with agar-agar jelly and basil seeds. Since good quality rum is produced in Mauritius, you can find various rum-based cocktails and light blonde beers here.
Mauritius is a vibrant country with a rich culture that is a delight to explore. The multilingual people of Mauritius are welcoming and tolerant towards diversity.
So what are you waiting for? Travel or relocate to Mauritius to experience the beauty of the island on your own.