Red, blue, yellow and green! Here's the perfect colour mix to best represent the one and only Indian Ocean’s pearl: Mauritius Island. On the 12th of March 1968, the National flag flew high in the sky for the very first time on Earth to celebrate the tumultously-acquired independence of the island. Let's jump back in history to learn more about this piece of heaven that was once called ‘Isle de France’...
After being under the French then British rule, Mauritius gained its independence 158 years later. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the first Prime Minister of Mauritius, was one of the founders of what the country is today. He is considered as being the Father of the Nation and he put every ounce and fiber of his work for free education, free healthcare and for the introduction of old-age pension in the country throughout his prime-ministership. In honor of his remarkable acts, many places in Mauritius are called after him. In your journey of discovery of Mauritius, you must have passed by a few of them such as Mauritius' International airport and the magnificent Botanical Garden found at Pamplemousses.
The access to Independence bore a heavy price as the population was almost equally divided: Many thought staying under British Rule would help the Mauritian population better move forward while the other half thought Independence was the only way to take command of one's future. The will to build a common nation was eventually victorious and came to a turning point on the 12th of March 1968.
Like many other countries, Mauritius celebrates its Independence Day every year. From Flag Raising Ceremonies and cake sharing among students in schools all around the island to the waving of the Red, Blue, Yellow and Green flags and street-carts serving special dishes, every place honors the island in its own way, this celebration is a real occasion for locals to come together and look back on the long road they have walked together, despite their differences in religions, origins and beliefs.
On Independence day, the Champ-de-Mars, Port-Louis is THE PLACE TO BE, goosebumps guaranteed! For one entire day, the Horse race tracks magically transforms into a marvelous spot for a variety of parades and cultural music show followed by an amazing ceremony. All of it giving birth to an explosion of joy, happiness, pride, and festivities for everybody.
Synchronized military parades and police officers accompanied by air parades and performances of various artists await!
One thing you can't miss is the song “La main dan la main” (hand in hand) during the ceremony, a creole sega song that speaks about the unity and togetherness of the young Mauritian nation.
Nothing planned yet for this 12th March? Then head to the thrilling national celebrations and get ready for the “Around thee we gather, As one people, As one nation, In peace, justice and liberty.” A not-to-be-missed event if you're in Mauritius this time around!
Photos: Vintage Mauritius