Religions of Mauritius
The first settlers on the island were the Dutch, who came in the 17th century. The Dutch introduced Christianity to Mauritius. Next, came the French in the 18th century. The French were also Christians. They built churches and baptized the African slaves they brought to the island.
Until the 19th century, Christianity was the main religion on the island. But all this changed when indentured laborers from northern and western India arrived on Mauritius. These laborers brought a new religion to the island: Islam. Today, about 15% of Mauritians are Muslim. The call to prayer can be heard echoing across the city streets five times a day, and there are many beautiful mosques around the country.
Laborers from northern India and southern India also brought Hinduism to Mauritius. Today, about 50% of the population practices Hinduism. This makes Mauritius the only African country with Hinduism as its main religion!
Hindu temples are usually VERY brightly colored with many statues of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Hindu temples are open to all visitors, and because they are so decorated they are fun to explore.
Most of the temples I visited were empty. I learned that it’s not mandatory for Hindus to pray at a temple. In fact, most Hindu homes have small shrines called “puja rooms” for daily prayers.
Every day in Mauritius, I see at least one mosque, one church, and one Hindu temple. I’ve been welcomed at each. It’s nice to see that Mauritians accept different religious beliefs.