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Religion in Mauritius
Mauritius is characterised by different groups of ethnicities that have managed to live happily by ever since man set foot on the island. Inhabited by the Arabs, Dutch, French and Britons initially, other races also found their way to the island mainly as slaves and labourers like the Africans and Indians. According to statistics, religious groups on the island consist of 51% Hindus, 27% Creoles (African descendants), 17% Muslims and 5% others (include Chinese, Sikhs, Anglo Mauritians and Franco Mauritians). Religious beliefs mainly revolve around Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Mauritius counts about 1.2 million people and out of that about half are Hindus making Mauritius the only part of Africa where Hinduism dominates. This can be explained mostly by the large influx of indentured labourers when the British owned the island to work in the fields and serve their masters. These people came from different parts of India such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and they are the most common Hindus in Mauritius; others, the Tamils, came from Tamil Naidu and Andhra Pradesh while Marathis came from Gujarats and Sikhs from Punjab. The Muslims reached the island too as indentured labourers from India, East Africa, Punjab and still others came from the Middle East. The Sunnis form the majority with Ahmadiya, Tablik, Tawheed and others falling in the minority. Islam is highly followed by all Muslims making it a must to abide by all its rules. On Friday, which is the praying day for them, many of them make it a must to go to their prayers at the nearest mosques and also shut down their businesses during that time (1pm-2pm). Christianity is also one of the main religions practiced on the island with many Mauritians being strict Christians while others are Roman Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans etc. Falling in this category are the Africans brought to the island as slaves as well as the European descendants. Chinese also occupy the island with most of them being Christians while others are Buddhists or even Confucians. These immigrants mostly came from Canton and Hunan speaking their native Cantonese and Mandarin before a good part of them converted to Catholics. Mauritius is a wonderful place to meet all sorts of religious believers such as the Rastafarians, Baha’i, Freemasons to name a few. Each different ethnic group brought with it its different culture and beliefs that each can perform freely on the island. Because of the vast diversity of religious groups and because of the freedom of religion that Mauritius supports, there are quite a number of public holidays for each different ethnic group. If you want to see different religious customs in one day, Mauritius is the place!