The Celebration of the Dead, on November 2nd, a day following All Saints’ Day remains a long-standing tradition in Mauritius. This festivity dating back to the civilization of the Aztecs, is celebrated by Mexicans with sheer joy. However, things are a little bit different here.
Indeed, on this occasion, where we pay tribute to the dead, Mauritians of Christian faith first attend church services before going to the cemetery to flower the graves of the deceased persons of their families. On the outskirts of the graveyards, under the blazing sun, this festival holds quite a festive atmosphere with regards to the crowds and the numerous sellers of multicolored flowers. Chrysanthemums are not the only flowers proposed on the shelves as there is also a variety of tropical flowers such as anthuriums, known to last longer.
Families wander among the graves and burials with armfuls of flowers and watering cans, as it is also customary to clean the graves before a short moment of prayer and recollection. You may also come across people offering water containers for a few rupees to those who are busy embellishing the tombs.
On that day, some Mauritians will literally roam around the island, from one graveyard to another, paying tribute to the demised persons of their families, leaving on each grave evidence of their visit: flowers from their own garden or some purchased ones. Towards the end of the day, while the sun sets, the sight of these abundantly flowered graveyards is a testimony that in Mauritius, this celebration dedicated to the commemoration of the dead, is in the end, far from being mournful.