During this period of the year, the splendid flame trees are in bloom with their bright red fiery flowers. During your stay in the hotels or villas or while visiting the island, you will come across Tropical fruits like mangoes of all sizes, colours, shapes and flavours; pineapples; litchis(Lychee); Longan (Dragon Eye Fruit); and watermelons abound.
Shopping centres are livelier with Christmas decorations, animations and shows attracting crowds during the day and late night shopping. Every street corner is invaded by hawkers selling Christmas cards, toys, balloons, firecrackers, gifts, clothes and a wide assortment of household items. The noise, heat, crowded streets and traffic jam can be unbearable in towns. Being the holiday season for schools this remains the most exciting time of the year for kids and teens.
Tourist season is at its peak in December and most of the hotels hit a 90 to 100% room occupancy rate. While many workers are on holidays, many others are not allowed holidays as Christmas time in Mauritius, just like in many countries around the world, remains the most commercially profitable period of the year. Hotels in Mauritius makes special offers during this period of the year for those wanting to spend Christmas in the sun or simply for those who want to experience Christmas in a very original way while tasting Mauritius’ delicious cuisine and enjoying the beauty of Christmas on this tropical paradise.
On Christmas Eve, most people set up and decorate their Christmas trees which vary from natural pine and spruce trees to artificial ones. The house, especially the living room is also decorated. Christmas carols are mainly heard on radio/television and in shopping centres but most Mauritians do not play Christmas carols at home.
Christmas Eve is celebrated in various ways in Mauritius’ multi-ethnical society. While most would rather enjoy the Christmas frenzy in the remarkably crowded and highly animated night life in towns, Catholics would be attending the mass and other families would be having a normal evening with a typical Mauritian Xmas dinner- usually a BBQ or something special!
The western traditional dishes like the stuffed turkey or Christmas pudding are slowly entering the Mauritian culture. Christmas cakes like the Bûche de Noël remains a very demanded and consumed commodity just like wine, scotch whisky, rum and champagnes. As usual, the night of December 24 in the Mauritian families is all about gifts and many also usually blow fireworks at midnight.
Traditionally, Christmas gifts are offered to kids and young people and is placed under the warmly decorated Xmas Tree. Gifts are opened in the morning on Christmas day and most kids believe in Father Christmas. Christmas day is a public holiday marked by family gatherings at home or at the beach. Dishes normally depends on religions, cultures and tastes.
Following the annual traditions, gatherings take place at grandparents’ place, many also spend the day at the beach or stay at their beach house or rent one for the festive season. Beach houses are usually fully booked during this period and very often so for several years in advance. Since New Year’s Day and January 2nd are public holidays in Mauritius, the gatherings and celebrations last for about a week.
Christmas in Mauritius coincides with peak summer and therefore is a far cry from the cold European Christmases’ you might be familiar with. Wearing your shorts or bikini on Christmas day might be weird to you but it is certainly the norm in Mauritius. Many businesses in the hospitality industry are open as normal on Christmas day so finding somewhere to eat, drink and be merry is not an issue.