Highlights of the week: Thaipoosam Cavadee celebration, School Certificate results, and economic growth

Expat news
  • Cavadee
Published on 2024-01-26 at 10:00 by Lila Chaleon*
Experience a week of diverse happenings in Mauritius, from the vibrant Thaipoosam Cavadee festival celebrated by Tamil communities to the unveiling of School Certificate results for Mauritian students, as well as Finance Minister Renganaden Padayachy announcing promising economic growth, marking a dynamic period for the island nation.

Thaipoosam Cavadee celebrated by the Tamil community

On January 25, the Tamil community of Mauritius celebrated Thaipoosam Cavadee. After a ten-day fast, the faithful embarked on the sacred pilgrimage, carrying the symbolic "Cavadee" on their shoulders, hoping to obtain divine grace from the God Muruga, conqueror of the dark forces. 

This celebration, traditionally observed in the month of Thai, between January and February in the Gregorian calendar, is marked by profound fasting, sacrifice, and abstinence strictly observed by devotees. On the day of the ceremony, devotees make their way to the temple early in the morning before heading for a local river where, as a sign of repentance, they have their faces, tongues, and bodies pierced by "Vels", small spear-shaped needles symbolizing their vow of silence during the procession. The pilgrimage continues to the Kovil, the temple, where devotees carry the Cavadee, a wooden and bamboo artifact decorated with leaves, flowers, and holy images, for prayers and offerings to the god Muruga. After the temple rituals, devotees pray before sharing the traditional vegetarian meal, Arusuvai.

School Certificate: concern over academic standards

Last Saturday, the Cambridge School Certificate results for the class of 2023 were revealed. This diploma, awarded to Mauritian schoolchildren at the end of grade 11, is a crucial stage in their secondary education, conditional on passing the O-level examinations orchestrated by the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate in partnership with Cambridge University.

However, of the 12,919 candidates from Mauritius and Rodrigues who took the exams, only 9,522 passed, marking a clear female predominance with 5,066 girls compared to 3,018 boys. Although the pass rate reached 73.7%, only 40.3% of students progressed to grade 12. This performance, which fell short of expectations, now leaves 60% of students at a crossroads when it comes to deciding on their future academic direction.

Economic success and the fight against corruption: Mauritius makes significant progress

Four years after the economic contraction of 2020, Mauritius is showing significant progress, attributed to economic measures representing 32% of Gross Domestic Product, aimed at supporting key sectors. Despite a drop in tourism in 2021, economic growth was 3.4% in 2021 and reached 8.9% in 2022, according to Finance Minister Renganaden Padayachy. Forecasts anticipate growth of around 7% in 2023, with an increase in tourism expected in 2024. However, the fight against corruption is highlighted as crucial, with joint efforts with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) since 2019, considering a Financial Crimes Commission. Dr. Carmine Di Noia of the OECD praised the fruitful collaboration with Mauritius in the fight against corruption.