Curiosities, traditions and customs of Mauritius

The Dodo, Mauritius symbol

You could start the session without starting talking about the famous "dodo", extinct animal symbol of the island of Mauritius, a bird, similar to a turkey that was not able to fly, he lived on this island together with other 23 species now He disappeared. The phenomenon's origin is not natural but is exclusively due to the colonization of the island. The animal was the victim of indiscriminate hunting of man who used to eat. The little evidence of its existence shows drawings of an Admiral of the first Westerners landed on the island. The popular image of the bird is by the famous painting made with overly bright colors, by Roelandt Savery (1576-1639), Dutch, Flemish painter and engraver of landscapes and wildlife subjects. Only in 1890 the British naturalist Charles Clark discovered the skeleton of a dodo in a swampy area of Moka, finding now housed at the Mauritius Institute in Port Louis. The dodo has been proposed to the general public in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.


Mauritian culture

Under the natural beauty of the landscape in Mauritius, there is another, often forgotten, another gem; Mauritian culture, better yet, the Mauritian cultures. Go to their discovery can be a fascinating trip. It would be too easy to classify the "culture of the island" as a unique and distinctive pieces of many different shapes. It consists of different customs and traditions of those who, over the last 400 years, have settled on these shores. Here Europe meets India, China, Africa and so on. Who could imagine that these unique costumes and diversified living separate but integrated in such a small place? This rich variety is present in every aspect of Mauritian life, the churches are located next to the mosque, Indian temples next to Chinese pagodas, etc. allowing a mutual respect between the different religions present in the island (Indian, Buddhist Christian and Muslim) where the festivals are celebrated with great fervor and devotion throughout the year from various communities with equal enthusiasm and fervor, as the Mahashivratri, the Diwali, the Ganesh Chathurti, Eid-ul-Fitr, Christmas, Easter and Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). Famous is the Tamil festival celebrating Cavadee Muruga, a ritual of penance involving spectacular feats such as fire dancing barefoot..

Another proof of this rich diversity is the variety of Mauritians. There are dishes of the Western tradition, from the island's colonial past or delicate flavors and aromas of the most exotic oriental cuisine brought by Indian and Chinese migrants. This, over time, led to the creation of unique dishes fusion of tastes and traditions very different.


Sega dance

Introduced by African slaves during the French colonial period, dance Sega (pronounced Saygah) is an exotic dance with erotic implications. Women wear skirts and colorful whirling and swaying accompanied with arm movements. Originally couples dancing the sega on the beach around a fire. The sand restricted the movements of the feet, so that today, when you dance your feet never leave the floor and crawl back and forth. The rubbing of the feet and the swaying hips are an integral part of the dance. The rhythm of the music involves dancers inducing a vibrant force that leads to a wild dance. Sega dance is usually accompanied by traditional instruments such as the Ravane, which is a circle of wood on which was laid a piece of goatskin, Coco, (Maracas), representing the percussion section, the triangle, a piece triangular metal clanging when beaten with an iron bar, the traditional guitar, that here is a stringed instrument with a single arc connected to a "Calebasse" (shaking instrument made from dried gourds and emptied). Stimulated and inspired by the local rum, people gather around a campfire to give free rein to their emotions. Often people to dance without music with the only accompaniment Ravane and the clinking of spoons, the clatter of seeds in a tin, and the clapping of the audience that eventually join the fun.