The city of Mahebourg came to a standstill as the island celebrated the grand finale of events of the Festival International Creole.
The festival, a week-long event, is a celebration of the Mauritian culture and Creole language, a symbol of the past and present, through music, dance, arts, crafts and cuisine.
The event run from December 2-10, 2023 with activities spread across the island.
The Festival International Creole got off with the Sware Poezi along with an exhibition of creole artworks and opened by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Planning and Minister of Tourism, Steven Obeegadoo.
He paid a glowing tribute to Dev Virahsawmy by saluting his fight for the promotion of “Langaz Kreol Morisien”. “Nou Langaz li siman nou linite. It is the “langaz kreol Morisien”, which allows us to live, develop and progress together. It is also a tool of social justice for those who have not had the chance to have an advanced education. They can still express themselves and assert their identity thanks to “Langaz Morisien”,” pointed out the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Avinash Teeluck, “it is important to celebrate Mauritian culture and language because they represent our identity”. “They are the cement that unites us all and that has allowed us to build modern Mauritius.
It continued with comedy and cinema shows spread across the island to ensure no one is left behind in the culturally defining event.
Another marquee feature of the festival was the Sega dance, which heralded an exciting weekend in Le Morne. The event named Sware Tipik; UNESCO inscribed sega dance, witnessed ten traditional groups showcasing the best of the island in the Le Morne. The folkloric dance is the musical expression of the Mauritian way of life: joy and liveliness.
With the event anticipating a fever pitch, a heavy downpour in many parts of the island and an anticipated unfriendly weather forced organisers to cancel all six concerts slated for Saturday night.
Yesterday’s climax could only be described as ‘’a grand return’’ of the 17-year event after the pandemic. A record 32,000 participants graced the triumvirate events of Regatta, Mauritian Cuisine festival.
As early as 10:00am, the Mahebourg waterfront was buzzing with plethora of activities with patrons readying to embark on the boat sail.
The regatta was a scenic beauty as over 15 boats set sail to become this year’s winner. The regatta is an – exciting and colourful boating events held every month. With their colourful sails and folkloric names, these boat races attract local Mauritians of all ages and are a fun day out for the whole family.
Speaking to VoyagesAfriq on the return of this year’s festival, the Director General of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Agency, Arvind Bundhum expressed excitement about the return of the event and was highly impressed with attendance.
He doubled down on the relevance of the creole festival, noting that they wanted to showcase a diversified offering beyond the beaches.
‘’Basically, you know, we want to show that Mauritius is not uniquely a beach destination. Mauritius has a lot to offer. And our offerings are very diverse. There are very few countries in the world whereby people come from different continents, and they live in peace and harmony. When they came along, they brought around gastronomy, culture, tradition, and religion. And this festival is extremely important for us because it is a great platform for us to show the cultural diversity that we have”.
He added that, ‘’Our principal role is to promote Mauritius as a platform for cultural and sports events. Next week we have the golf events coming up and these events that we organize during the week focusing on culture and language are ways to showcase Mauritius as a big platform for events”.
Notable big names of Mauritius music scene who performed included Alain Ramanissum, Koko Faya, Laura Beg, Eric Triton, Erlan Bottesoie, Alain Auriant, among other bands and groups.