Mauritius is one of those rare countries outside South East Asia, where Hinduism is practised by an overwhelming majority of people. It is easy to estimate the popularity of this festival in Mauritius from the fact that Ganesh Chaturthi is declared as a national holiday in Mauritius.For many business communities in India Ganesh Chaturthi is also regarded as the start of their new financial year.
The tradition of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius dates back to the last century. Unlike Europe and North America, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Mauritius follows a pattern, that is quite similar to the one followed in India. People clean their houses thoroughly and decorate it with flowers. The lord is welcomed in the house on the first day and is placed on a pedestal decorated with flowers and sandalwood.
Ganesha is believed to be a big foodie and everyday devotees offer him Modak, a sweet dish made with rice flour, jiggery and coconut stuffing. In the evenings aarti is held and people sing songs praising the lord. On the final day families carry their idols to the sea beach and immerse him in the water, bidding a final goodbye.
Besides individual celebrations, Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius is also celebrated in different Hindu temples of the country. The celebrations at the temples are much grander, considering the fact that a lot of people assemble in one place to participate in the pujas. The Indian High commission in Mauritius arranges special shows, performances and events to celebrate this festival.