The atmosphere is thrilling and the tribal sounds of music are buzzing with floating energy. Men making grotesque piercings with steel spears and hooks pull decorated ‘Kavadis’ and vehicles, while women march silently and dance joyfully out of their affection for Lord Muruga. When you go there you get to see these scenes Kavadi festival in Mauritius, This festival is celebrated in the tenth month of the Hindu calendar when ‘Poosam’ or the star is at its highest. This festival is celebrated every year around 21 January. Here is a brief guide to what the festival of Kavedi is and how it is celebrated.
Historical significance of Kavedi Festival
The festival is dedicated to Lord Muruga and is celebrated wherever Tamil Hindus are settled across the world. This includes destinations like Malaysia, Singapore, USA and the Caribbean. The Kavadi festival in Mauritius is a government and bank holiday, and everyone respects the culture of the ethnic Tamils. The festival is about penance and recognizing the burden of humanity as well as celebration. All the rituals have a deep meaning for the devotees and it is a great moment to understand the life and culture of Indians in Mauritius.
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About Kavadi Festival in Mauritius
If you are wondering how Kavadi is celebrated in Mauritius, here is a look at all the festivities and customs followed during the festival:
1. Ten days of fasting and penance
Sitthirai Kavadi in Mauritius starts like any other Thaipusam festival in India. It begins with ten days of sanctity, and worshipers also have a ritual associated with it, the flag hoisting or Kodi Atrum. The flag is tied in temples and announces the ten-day Kavedi festival when everyone is praying, fasting and eating vegetarian food. To get acquainted with the traditions of Mauritius, you must attend this 10-day festival.
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2. The night before D-Day
The main attraction of the event is the Kavadi, an arched wooden structure which is decorated by devotees. Each Kavadi is different and is decorated with flowers, coconut leaves, peacock feathers and tied to milk pots. Some horsemen are more elaborate and larger. Since the devotee has to carry the burden of the horsemen, the larger horsemen are often pulled along their bodies by ‘wels’ or small spears and hooks!
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The day of the Kavedi festival is a huge celebration, and you can see queues of devotees in bright pink and saffron clothes lining the streets. These people are seen carrying their horsemen with steel spears and hooks attached to their bodies. Women and young girls carry pots of milk, and some of the more adventurous even stick spears in their mouths. And then those who do not pierce their mouths cover their mouths with scarves to show flexibility.
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4. Celebration begins
After a ceremony on a river bank or beach where a priest conducts the ceremony, devotees then proceed to the temples and free themselves from the crowd. Devotees then celebrate with a vegetarian feast called ‘Prasadam’ and eaten on banana leaves. This marks the end of the festival. Needless to say, the best time to visit Mauritius is during the Kavadi festival.
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Myths surrounding Kavedi Festival
The Kavadi festival in Mauritius is based on an ancient Tamil myth about a robber Idumban. His guru Agathiyar ordered him to obtain two mountain peaks and tie them to one side of a horseman and bring them to him. When Idumban is bringing down the mountain, he realizes that one side is very high and he finds Lord Muruga in disguise. He does not recognize God and starts quarreling with him. Lord Muruga becomes angry and kills him with Vel or spear. Seeing Idumban dead, Agathiyar and his followers pray to Lord Muruga to revive him. They speak highly of his purity, and then Lord Muruga brings him back to life. To appease him, it was decided that any believer who would take his ride to Lord Muruga would have his wishes fulfilled.
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The Kavadi Festival in Mauritius is one of the biggest festivals in the country and is celebrated by all the Tamil Hindus settled there. This is one of the best times to visit the country as you can experience not only the natural beauty but also the ethnic diversity and culture of Mauritius. Plan a trip to Mauritius once to witness a festival that tests the patience of humans and their faith.
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FAQs About Kavadi Festival in Mauritius
When is Holi Kavedi Festival held?
This festival is organized in the month of January.
What are the other festivals in Mauritius in the month of January?
Thimithi, Chinese Spring festival are some of the festivals that are celebrated in the month of January in Mauritius.
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