Multicultural Mauritius

One of the tours offered by HAL was entitled “Multicultural Mauritius.”  Before I was released for day trips around Mauritius, I experienced that multi culturalism.  The staff of the hospital reflects many of the communities of Mauritius, Hindu, Moslem, Catholic African, Catholic French and Chinese.  Listening to the radio I heard the rhythms of the different communities as the DJs shifted between languages with each request and dedication. 

Some college friends from Minnesota have a friend who lives in Mauritius.  Pierre is a guide who leads safari’s in Africa.  He, his wife and daughter came to visit us in the hospital.  Pierre is a dual South African, Mauritian citizen.  One of the thing that strikes him about Mauritius is that the census does not ask about race and, after growing up in South Africa, he finds this refreshing.  He says they do ask about religion, but the reason is to apportion public holidays.  One of the things that impressed Pierre is that at the main Hindu shrine at Grand Bassin Lake, there is a grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary that is lovingly cared for by the Hindu population.  The Mauritian flag is a four color rainbow representing the different communities of Mauritius. 

In an earlier post I mentioned that just under half of the population was Hindu, about a quarter Catholic, 18% Muslim and 3% Chinese.  When talking with the doctors and nurses about their identity it is clear that religion is very important to them.  But so is respect for their colleagues’ faiths.  Suzi and I wondered if Mauritius was like Europe or the States, where religious attendance was falling.  According to our caregivers, churches, temples and mosques are well attended, something we observed while driving around the island.

This first set of pictures are religious sites around the island.  The church on the beach is Notre Dame Auxiliatrice at Cap Malheureau.  The open air church overlooking the city is Marie Reine de la Paix, Mary Queen of Peace. 

The second set of pictures is from Grand Bassin Lake, the major Hindu shrine in Mauritius.  The lake is in the crater of an extinct volcano at 702 meters (about 2300 feet) above sea level.  The lake is also known as Ganga Talao, or Lake of the Ganges.  Devout Hindus believe the lake is linked to the sacred river by an underground stream.  We are greeted to the shrine by 33 meter (108 feet) high statues of Shiva and Durga.

At first I felt awkward taking pictures of people worshiping but people made it clear that I was welcome and, please, do take pictures.  So I did.

The next post will be beaches in Mauritius. Stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “Multicultural Mauritius

  1. So glad to see your posts have continued. They are always so interesting. I am also glad that you are recovered from your illness. Hope you continue to do well.

  2. Dear Lurkeringa, Thank you for your well wishes. Still recovering, scheduled for more infusions next week but doing much better. — Rich

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