Festival du Printemps à l'île Maurice
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The first month of the Chinese lunar calendar is marked by the Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year. It is the Chinese calendar's longest holiday, taking place every year between January 21 and February 20. Since the Chinese calendar is lunar-solar, this holiday is also known as the Lunar New Year. It also commemorates the coming of spring after the winter solstice, as its name suggests. The spring festival's celebrations, traditions, and values differ depending on the country and region.
Mauritius has a wonderful multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community, and Sino-Mauritians, or people of Chinese origin, make up a portion of that population. The Chinese Spring Festival is of course very important in Mauritius.
Although the chinese population is approximately 3%, it plays an important role in Mauritius and this festival is widely and fervently celebrated throughout the island.
The common practice is to try to start the year off on a new footing after removing the negative effects from the previous year, followed by signs of good fortune. As a result, several days prior to the New Year's arrival, each family prepares special food, purchases new clothing, and cleans the house from top to bottom. Poems about the spring feast are shown on the front doors of several homes with the color red which is considered a good omen in China. For the spring feast, everything must be clean and new.
Spring Festival celebrations include firecrackers which, according to tradition, are intended to ward off evil spirits as each new year begins. The key festivities take place in Chinatown in Port Louis, where the new year is welcomed with lively processions of lion and dragon dances, which are witnessed by families and tourists from all over the island. In China, the dragon has a very different meaning than the evil dragons depicted in Western films. The dragons, according to common belief, are responsible for the rains and ensure that their fields have enough water. As a result, the dragon dance is very common and demonstrates the dragon cult. The Chinese strength and power are symbolized by these legendary animals and Chinese emperors were once thought to be the sons of the dragon.
Decor and preparations
Red lanterns adorn the streets and the aromas of delicious Chinese street food fill the air. In the hopes of a prosperous year ahead, traditional foods such as dumplings, seaweed, and raw fish salad are abundantly offered but no knives are to be used on the day itself to avoid accidents and a bad start to the year, so most preparation is done ahead of time.
Traditional Chinese New Year "wax" cakes, a steamed gelatinous concoction made with dried fruit and rice flour, also known as sticky cake, or Nian Gao are also made and distributed among family and friends during the festival.
The spring festival also represents the warm atmosphere that exists within the family. The Hong Bao, a red envelope containing money that is traditionally given to relatives, especially parents and grandparents, exemplifies this perfectly. The elders gave these tokens to the children and unmarried youth. Above all, they were symbolic of bringing good fortune in the New Year.x
In Mauritius, the Chinese New Year is observed as a public holiday, enabling anyone who wishes to participate in the festivities to do so. Apart from the spectacular festive activities and spectacles, you may find that this festival has a dominant color, red, which is said to symbolize happiness and luck in Chinese culture.
Festivals Celebrations at some Hotels
The good news for those who don't want to leave their hotel is that most resorts and hotels in Mauritius host unforgettable Spring Festival celebrations. You are sure to have a magical Chinese New Year experience, from red Chinese lanterns, umbrellas, and fans in popular areas to themed buffets, novel tasting menus, parades, fireworks, and displays, and maybe even a lucky red envelope on your pillow.