Mauritius – A dream island, four worlds

Mauritius – A dream island, four worlds

November 7, 2018 0 By admin

 

Football is for Europe, sailing is for Mauritius: national sport. “You have to be for Krish,” says the older man. His buddy shakes his head seriously looking. “Oh, he’s just talking, they’re not good enough. Prince, who win. “The two sit at the pier of Mahébourg and analyze the teams. There are only a few minutes left before the race, the boats line up in the water at the start line.

Just as here, almost every weekend around the island, several hundred people meet for regattas. It is a big event, even for tourists. Visitors sit on the shore, laugh, drink and party. The simply built boats with the colorful sails are beautiful to look at in the turquoise blue sea, in front of the striking coast of Mauritius with its dark green covered mountains.

They have a long tradition. Even the early fishermen went out with the pirogues. And still do it today. Eventually someone started racing, spectators came, so festivals with market activity, art, culture and music emerged.

The biggest regatta takes place during the Festival International Kreol (17 to 26 November 2018). Then the island celebrates its culture for two weeks – with sailing, poetry slam and especially concert and dance events such as the Sware Tipik.

A concert with a lot of food

Torches illuminate the beach overlooking Mauritius’ most famous mountain, Le Morne. Around a campfire are men in traditional dress and shirtless. They prepare for their performance by turning the drums in the firelight. The heat stretches the stretched over a frame leather, which changes the tone.

A Sware Tipik is something like a picnic picnic. In a park stands a small stage, on the lawn, people settle down to dinner or dance in small groups. The focus here is the music – the Sega. It originated when slaves had to meet secretly to live religion and music.

In the street scene the cultures mix. On the registry office, however, rather rare.
In the street scene the cultures mix. On the registry office, however, rather rare.

Source: UIG via Getty Images

Mauritius is a fascinating melting pot of traditions. The once uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa was first settled by sailors – by the Dutch from 1598 and from 1715 by the French.

The turn lost in 1810 the 2040 square kilometer piece of land to the English. They kept Mauritius as a colony until it became independent in 1968.

Holidays from many cultures

The European colonial masters needed workers for their plantations. So only African slaves and later Indian workers came to the island. At some point followed Chinese merchants.

The result of this story is a multicultural society with a multitude of religions and traditions. All members celebrate together the Muslim sacrificial festival as well as the Chinese New Year festival, which is called on Mauritius Spring Festival, and the Indian light festival Divali.

Chilli Bites - local Mauritian snack for sale at Port Louis Market, Port Louis, Mauritius (Photo by Hoberman Collection / UIG via Getty Images)
Typical of Mauritius is the fusion cuisine to which all cultures contribute their part. This is a snack with chili.

Source: UIG via Getty Images

On the market at the sailing regatta, the cultural mix in the smallest space becomes particularly clear. Here you can eat in no time through the cultures of the island. “We have everything,” says travel guide Sameer Takun. “What do you want first thing – Indian, Muslim or something from my Chinese friends?”

Takun walks through rows of market stalls full of clothes, trinkets and kitsch and stops at a stand with large bowls. He chooses a kind of radish, which was inserted in small slices in the juice of the tamarind tree. Getting used to, but delicious from the third bite. The slices are served as well as pickled mangos and pineapple as a punch in the cup. Then there is a coconut.

Peanuts, cooked in salted water

Three stalls farther on a sheet of riz frite, fried rice with raisins. “And now we have to Indian,” says Takun and points to an impromptu food stall. It is a family business, eight people are on three square meters and fry spicy samosas or bake the bread for Dholl puri.

The flat-rolled lentil dish is something like the national dish of Mauritius. You get it on virtually every street corner, even for breakfast. A radio plays loud Indian music. The head of the food stall lets everyone try a bite for free and then asks: “Do you want more?”

The colorful soil is the result of volcanic activity.
The colorful soil is the result of volcanic activity.

Source: UIG via Getty Images

Finally, there are peanuts that were not roasted, but freshly harvested from the tree and boiled in salt water. That makes them unusually soft. The kitchen is often described as a fusion cuisine.

Not necessarily in the markets and festivals, but in the upscale restaurants and the French and English cuisine of the colonial rulers are offered – and like all influences combined. One speaks also of Creole kitchen.

The mix of Mauritius is unique

In many regions of the world, Kreol stands for the mixture that once arose in colonial countries, where different peoples, their cultures and languages ​​came together. But Fabio de Polo, owner of the restaurant at the Château de Labourdonnais, does not quite agree with both terms: “Creole is too general, that does not really mean anything. I would speak of Mauritian cuisine. “After all, the kitchen – as well as the culture – the island’s very own touch, which distinguishes it from other Creole cultures.

Mauritius is currently discovering this individuality and learning to emphasize it, says de Polo. The Italian restaurateur has been living on the island for several years and is seeing changes in tourism. The classic all-inclusive destination is increasingly being visited by individual travelers and backpackers. “That changes the restaurants. They can increasingly hope for tourists if they lure them about the local delicacies in high quality. ”

Perfect idyll. Sunset on the north coast.
Perfect idyll. Sunset on the north coast.

Source: UIG via Getty Images

Bernard Maurice also sees it this way: “There is now more interest in working up the story, also to show it to the tourists and to lure them out of the hotels.” Maurice is the director and curator of the Château de Labourdonnais in Mapou. The old colonial house was redesigned into a museum only a few years ago and is dedicated to the history of the island, including slavery and sugar cane cultivation.

“We tried to preserve the soul of the Château and thus the history of the island,” says Maurice. Old wallpapers were rebuilt, furniture taken from the warehouses. One feels transported back to a pretty house in the 19th century, but also into the cruel living conditions of the slaves at this time.

At that time originated many traditions of the African population, also the typical music, the Sega. 200 years later you can expect a little time travel, if you follow the advertisement of the local tourism authority and go to a “Sega Lontan”. It takes place within the framework of the Festival International Kreol – with live TV broadcasting and thousands of visitors.

The radio plays the local sound

As a visitor, one feels a bit reminiscent of the nightlife of any European capital, if one appears too early: Punctually to the beginning of the concert, one stands almost alone on the large meadow and wonders where everyone is. After all, there are no less on the stage than the Rolling Stones of the Sega. And whoever comes later waits a long time in the queue.

Music plays a big role on the island.
Music plays a big role on the island.

Source: picture alliance / imageBROKER

After all, the very old are here, families with children, but also many young people, the Saturday night in the club of the capital for whiz. Sega connects all generations and dominates the music scene in the country.

This becomes clear when listening to the radio. Between the all-weather hits, mostly Sega is played. Above all, this music sounds like a happy Caribbean sound, especially as a popular modern variant blends Sega with Jamaican reggae. But it can also resemble a French chanson in the ears of a layman, sound like ska or polka.

Married is usually in their own culture

What strikes a Sega or Sware Tipik: These are events that almost exclusively visit people with African ancestors. It is her heritage. The different cultures in Mauritius exist rather parallel, they hardly mix. “If we marry each other, the question of the religion of the children arises,” explains taxi driver Amir Amja Beegun. “One of the partners would have to give his children the other religion – that will not work. The parents do not allow that. “And if love is involved? “Then the families still mostly say no. That would only give problems. As it is, we live together peacefully. ”

And so, in the vast majority of cases, when it comes to marriage, the religions stay under themselves. “But we invite everyone to the weddings, hundreds of people are, and celebrate together,” emphasizes Beegun. Even the holidays of religions are spent together. “We get along well, my family celebrates many festivals with all our neighbors. There are Indians, Muslims, Chinese. I especially like to celebrate with the Muslims who cook so delicious. ”

Source: dpa; Infographic WORLD

Tips and information about Mauritius

getting there For example with Condor (condor.de), Lufthansa (lufthansa.de) or Eurowings (eurowings.de) from Germany directly to Mauritius. Alternatively: KLM (klm.de), Air France (airfrance.de) and Air Mauritius (airmauritius.com) fly via Amsterdam, Paris and London to the island,

travel time Recommended are April to June and September to December; Cyclones can occur from November to May.

organizer SA Travel offers a seven-day guided island round trip, from Mauritius (including 6 nights / half board, without flights) from 1399 euros per person, www.sa-travel.de; at Berge & Meer costs a nine-day rental car tour (including 8 B / F, flight) from 1699 euros per person, www.berge-meer.de.

information desk tourism-mauritius.mu

Source: Welt
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