FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH **
Contributions by Fontana Agathe
Facts you did not know about Mauritius (Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent. The capital and largest city is Port Louis.)
1. How are birthdays celebrated?
It’s always a special occasion and mostly celebrated at home with family.
2. When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?
We normally shake hands and kisses are kept for family.
3. What languages are spoken in your country?
Most Mauritians are multilingual; Mauritian Creole, English, French, and Asian languages are used with Creole and French as the most common. English remains an administrative language, and is also used as support in schools.
4. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?
Both. There are no special specifications.
5. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Mauritius?
We drive on the left-hand side of the road. The most important thing to know when driving here is that most drivers believe that they are in possession of a racing car. The easy-going way of life and the friendliness of the Mauritians can however also be seen when they are driving. When asking for the way they might just go in front of you to make sure you do not get lost.
6. How important is punctuality?
Very few persons know what punctuality is.
7. What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?
A great majority of Mauritians listen to Bollywood music, because 60% of Mauritians are Hindu. Most of the remaining 40% listen to European music. Very few are actually fond of Sega, the local music. A few of our popular local musicians are:
Clarel Armelle and Linzy Bacbotte: Watch this
Mister Love: Watch this
Alain Ramanisum: Watch this
8. Are there any Traditional Dances?
The Sega remains the main traditional dance. Check it out
9. What traditional Festivals are celebrated in your community?
That’s a long list. We celebrate almost all main Hindu, Chinese, Christian and Muslim festivals; plus some special occasions like the Abolition of Slavery and the first arrival of engaged Indian workers.
10. What are your seasons like?
Two seasons: winter and summer. In recent years our summer-times are getting very, very hot and the winters more windy. In summer temperatures vary between 25°C – 32°C and in winter between 20°C – 27°C.
11. Tell us an interesting fact about your President?
The President of the Republic of Mauritius is the Head of State of the Republic of Mauritius and is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Mauritius. The President functions as a ceremonial figurehead elected by the National Assembly, as set out by the Constitution of Mauritius. The current office-holder is Kailash Purryag. He was elected as the fifth President and took office on 21 July 2012.
He is the eldest of a family of nine children, has been married to Aneetah Purryag since 1973 and has a daughter and two grandchildren. His great grandfather Lakshman Paryag sailed to Mauritius some 150 years ago to work as an Indentured labourer.
12. What are Mauritius’ major industries?
• Tourism, and
• Offshore (Financial Services)
13. How do people spend their free time?
Beaches and all related sea and sand activities, foot-ball for a lot of men, facebook for youngsters, and window-shopping which is quite a new thing with the new shopping malls opening in the last two years.
14. What do people drink?
A lot of sodas like Coke and Fanta, but the spirits consumption curve is constantly climbing.
15. What is a popular local dish?
Traditionally, Mauritian food is spicy, with influences from Indian, Creole, African and Chinese cuisine. Many of the staple fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood and meats are grown or caught locally and there are dishes to suit all tastes. Curry (cari) is a favourite food and there are plenty of side dishes to choose from, including rice, roti, niouk nien (dumplings) or mine-frit (Chinese fried noodles.). Lentil or bean curries are popular, along with meat, fish or seafood varieties.
Rougaille is also a very popular traditional dish. Served hot, this Creole tomato dish also contains onions, chillies, garlic and spices.
With their French name but Indian origins, all visitors should try gateau piment. Made with split peas (dhal or dholl), they also contain red or green chillies, coriander, onions and cumin. Shaped into balls, gateau piment are then deep fried until golden brown.
16. What do you pay for?
In a restaurant… A cup of coffee – $0.60 cents, a Coca Cola – $0.50 cents,
A 2-Course meal for 2 people – nothing extravagant – a local menu with drinks approx. $ 26.00
At a shop… A loaf of bread – French white bread – $0.20 cents, a local newspaper – $0.50 cents
17. Security – in general?
Average. Unfortunately, criminals are always on duty in some specific areas like the north and west. If from a national view figures represent a quite mastered average, in specific spots, figures are quite frightening. As everywhere though, despite a fairly strong police presence, one should be aware and careful, especially at night.
** Meaning: From the highest authority. From the source.
Origin: In horse racing circles tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters. The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, that is, stable lads, trainers etc. The notional ‘from the horse’s mouth’ is supposed to indicate one step better than even that inner circle, that is, the horse itself