Culture

Rainbow: The Element Fire

Mauritius was discovered in the early 16th century when it was home only to animals that included the famous plump dodo bird! Although comparatively still a young island, it has since been inhabited by four European powers, and was populated by them and the slaves they imported from Africa and Asia.

Mauritius is a melting pot but far from clichéd. The island is multi-ethnic, with people drawn from India, China, Africa and Europe, following a multitude of religions but with religious festivals celebrated as national events. Most of the population is multilingual, speaking the mother tongue of Creole, plus English and French, as well as some still conversing in ancestral languages like Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, Chinese and Bhojpuri.

Nowhere is the melange of cultures more evident than in Mauritian cuisine. Mauritian food is somewhat unique with inspiration from China, Africa, India and Europe offering genuine diversity to suit almost any palate. With dishes influenced by former slaves, indentured labourers, migrants and colonists, the range of food includes anything from Michelin-starred fine dining to roadside snack outlets and the omnipresent street food vendor offering such mouth-watering menu items such as delicate heart of palm salads, smoked marlin, to stir fried rice or noodles, flavoursome curries, piquante ‘rougailles’ (tomato based dishes), and endless street snacks like the must try dholl puris, ‘gateau piments’ (fried chilli cakes) and samosas. Foodies will not be disappointed!


The Rainbow element Fire is expressed perfectly through music and dance. The traditional music and dances from three continents led to the creation of the folk dance ‘Sega’ which best represents the vibrant culture of Mauritius, Sega originated among the slave populations and served as a means to forget, if only for a little while, their suffering and hardships. Sega music continues to be popular and brings joy to those who experience it, so be ready to immerse yourself in the music and let the sega light a fire in you!

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