Hinduism in Mauritius
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Hinduism originally came to Mauritius with Indians who worked as indentured servants of European settlers of the island. Today, Hinduism is a major religion in Mauritius, representing approximately 48.5% of the total population of the country according to the 2011 census made by Statistics Mauritius, while other sources give an estimate of 48%. This makes Mauritius, the country having highest percentage of Hindus in Africa and third highest percentage of Hindus in the world after Nepal and India, respectively.
There is also a significant migrant population of Bhumihar Brahmins in Mauritius who have made a mark for themselves in different fields and they are still in touch with their family members in India and there are instances of marital relations between them to keep their cultural identity intact. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness maintains a strong active presence in Mauritius, with several temples across the country.
Major Hindu festivals
One of the biggest Hindu festivals on the island is Maha Shivaratri ("Great Night of Shiva"). During this annual Hindu celebration, which takes place in the months of February and March, four to nine days of ceremony and fasting lead up to an all-night vigil of Shiva worship.
Other important Hindu festivals in Mauritius include:
- Thaipusam, honoring the South Indian god Muruga. Although it is officially a Tamil holiday, thousands of non-Tamils join in to carry kavadi.
- Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival occurring on a public holiday assigned to the extensive Marathi-speaking community, celebrates the birth of Ganesha and just as readily attracts all the island's Hindus, since this god is the patron of harmony and is worshiped in all Hindu temples.
- Diwali, "the Festival of Lights," also known as Dipavali. Diwali is so popular it is proclaimed a national public holiday in Mauritius. Not only does it cut across Hindu ethnic barriers, it crosses a few Christian ones as well.
- Ugadi/Gudi Padwa Hindu New Year
- Holi The Festival of Colors
- Makar Sankranti
Temples in Mauritius
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- Malik, Rajiv (2003). "The Hindus of Mauritius". Hinduism Today. Himalayan Academy. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
- "Resident population by religion and sex". Statistics Mauritius. p. 68. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Thapan (ed.), Meenakshi (2005). Transnational Migration and the Politics of Identity. SAGE. p. 320. ISBN 978-0-7619-3425-7.