Population, culture, and languages in Mauritius

mauritian cullture
Updated 2019-06-06 15:08

There are at least 400 years of history reflected in the Mauritian culture. The population of Mauritius is a mixture of British and French colonials, African slaves, Malagasy and Indian labourers, and Chinese business traders. The uniqueness of Mauritius can be seen in its historical, cultural, and ethnic diversity.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 1.26 million inhabitants in Mauritius, with a density of about 618 inhabitants per km² (in 2014), mainly centralised around the cities and towns.

"Enn sel lepep, enn sel nation" (as one people, as one nation) is motto that emphasises the "rainbow" culture of Mauritius, where people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds live side by side in peace. It's a popular phrase taken from the national anthem, indicating the national unification of the Mauritian people.

Cultural diversity

The different ethnic origins include:

  • Indo-Mauritians (i.e. of Indian origin)*: 68%, and the religious affiliations can be either Hindu, Muslim, or Christian/Catholic

*Not to be confused with Indian (native to India)

  • Creoles (i.e. of mixed backgrounds composed mostly of slaves and French or British colonials): 27%, predominantly Christian/Catholic
  • Sino-Mauritians (i.e. of Chinese origin): 3%, Christian/Catholic or Buddhist
  • Whites: 2%, predominantly Christian/Catholic

In general, Mauritians of all backgrounds interact peacefully and show respect for each other despite religious or ethnic differences, although inter-racial relationships are not the norm. The Mauritian culture puts a lot of emphasis on tolerance and mutual respect. Traditions and customs of each religion are observed, and public holidays to the whole island are given for major religious festivals. Each religion has its place of worship, and can be found all over the island. The diversity of Mauritius is seen in everyday life, highlighted by the art, cuisine, and clothing.


English is the official language of Mauritius, due to the 150 years of being colonised by the British. Most businesses and all official bureaucratic matters are in English. However, French and "kreol morisyen" (Mauritian Creole) are more common, and spoken by the population more frequently than English. The Mauritian Creole is the mother-tongue and is spoken by all Mauritians.

French is the second most popular language, and is somewhat linked to Creole since Creole is basically broken French. French is taught in school along with English, as from the pre-primary level. Other languages that are spoken include Hindi or Bhojpuri, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hakka, Arabic, Mandarin, and Cantonese, which are also taught in school as Oriental language classes.

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