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Discover the best festivals of the Indian Ocean for 2015

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the local culture and lifestyle of the Indian Ocean than taking part in a vibrant local festival.

Indian Ocean Festival

Enjoying the waves at Kiteival

Check out 2015’s very best festivals across the Indian Ocean.

Mauritius

  • Kiteival (26 July – 4 August)

This annual kite surf festival held in locations around Mauritius invites kite surfers of all levels (including those who just want to watch) to some of the island’s best beaches to compete, have fun and enjoy the festivities.

  • Ganesh Chaturthi (17 September)

A day in which the Hindu population celebrate the birth of Ganesha (the god of wisdom). On this day the Hindus of Mauritius must carry statues of the elephant-headed god down to the beach to immerse his head in water before sunset.

  • Divali (11 November)

Homes and some streets across Mauritius are lit up with small oil lamps, candles and fairy lights to celebrate Rama’s victory over Ravana in the Hindu religion.

  • Festival International Kréol (November TBC)

An annual festival of dancing, music, food and culture to celebrate the island’s Creole influences.

Seychelles

  • Fete Afrique (22-24 May)

    Indian Ocean Festivals

    Food and Festivities

Festivities are held across the islands to celebrate the country’s African ties including live music from international bands, dance and food.

  • La Digue Festival (15-16 August)

The Christian Feast of the Assumption of Mary is celebrated across the Seychelles but in La Digue the island is given over to festive fun including a bicycle tour, a beauty pageant, sports events, dancing and even a coconut peeling competition.

  • SUBIOS Underwater Festival (20-22 November)

Set on the beautiful beach of Beau Vallon, Mahé, this three-day festival celebrates underwater conservation, photography and film with screenings on the beach, live music and Creole food.

  • Festival Kreol (23-26 October)

Held in the nation’s capital Victoria, this vibrant festival celebrates all elements of Creole life including art, dance, music, literature and food. Live concerts, sega dance competitions, storytelling and conferences on cultural identity are all included.

Maldives

  • Independence Day (26 July)

Parades, live performances, traditional dancing, feasting and partying take place across the islands of Maldives to celebrate the day in 1965 when the nation became independent.

  • Eid-ul Al’h’aa (18 July)

This three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan includes feasts and traditional dancing on most of the islands, venture to the capital Malé for a vibrant parade of people dancing, beating drums and singing.

Indian Ocean Festivals

Sacred ceremonies and family swims

A celebration in the South Ari Atoll of one of the Maldives’ most glorious residents, the gentle whale shark, timed to coincide with International Whale Shark Day.

Madagascar

  • Donia Festival (16-24 May)

A live music event featuring Madagascan bands and those from neighbouring countries held on the island of Nosy Be. As well as music, expect a carnival, dancing, a beauty pageant, sports events and lots of stuff for the kids.

A carnival around the streets of Diego Suarez in the capital Antsiranana this includes free events from parades, musical performances and dancing to puppetry, circus acts and street painting.

  • Carnival of Madagascar in Antananarivo (19-21 June)

A big parade, music, food and various arts and crafts activities all celebrate the culture of Madagascar in this major 3-day event.

  • Whale Festival on the island of Sainte-Marie (4-12 July)

    Indian Ocean Festivals

    Carnival

One of the best spots for watching the migration of humpback whales through Madagascar’s waters, the island of Sainte-Marie celebrates the annual spectacle with parades, carnival, music, parties and even a canoe jousting competition.

  • Sorogno Festival (September TBC)

Set in Ambanja on the northwest coast of Madagascar this annual carnival featuring music, dancing and sports celebrates the full moon and its effect on the tides.

  • Rebeke Music Festival (September TBC)

Held in Tsiombe on the southern tip of Madagascar this annual festival celebrates the traditional music and dancing of the southern Androy.

Arrange excursions to visit local cultural events before you arrive with our online concierge service, like this one at Constance Lémuria

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