There is a large Hindu population of Indian ancestry in Mauritius who have brought with them the Hindu religion and its various holidays. Some of these holidays, including Thaipoosam Cavadee, have public holiday status in Mauritius.
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Thaipoosam Cavadee is mostly celebrated by those whose ancestors specifically hail from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a devotion held in honour and worship of the Hindu god Muruga.
The date of Thaipoosam Cavadee is based on the traditional Tamil Calendar. It’s date varies on the Gregorian Calendar but generally falls in January or February.
The first Thaipoosam Cavadee event takes place 10 days before the actual celebration, with a special flag-hoisting ceremony done amid Hindu chanting and music. Only at the festival’s end will the “festival flag” finally be lowered again.
At temples all over Mauritius, many will come to pray and offer flowers, sandalwood, and incense at this time of year. Devotees seek to persuade Muruga to be gracious to them.
Many will also abstain from pleasure and fast from meat during this 10-day period. Plus, at home, many Hindus will read or recite portions from the ancient Hindu epics.
On Thaipoosam Cavadee Day proper, there will be a pilgrimage to local rivers or to the seashore. People will dress in special, colourful attire and wait to be purified by a priest using holy water. Sacrifices are also made by fire, along with offerings of fruit, milk, butter, and incense.
Thaipoosam Cavadee is also the time when decorative bamboo arches called “kavadis” are tended to and ceremonially re-sanctified. And there are special chariot processions and other colourful religious rituals that take place in Mauritius on this day.