The holidays of Maldives are constant companions of life, the holidays are not only an opportunity to bring joy to loved ones, but also a holiday.
The people of any country love holidays and weekends. For some celebrations, residents prepare in advance, and sometimes, there is no need. What are the holidays celebrated in the Maldives, and how does it happen?
First of all, all holidays in the Maldives can be roughly divided into two categories:
– The first is public holidays that are directly related to historical events that took place in the Maldivian Republic. Celebrations in honor of a significant state event are organized on a memorable day, and have a set date.
– The second are religious festivals whose dates are directly linked to the Islamic lunar calendar.
There is a special ceremonial atmosphere on public holidays, and this is especially noticeable in the capital of the country. The stores in the capital are usually closed, the streets are buzzing with people in high spirits and the scent of traditional Maldivian food is in the air. Each of the holidays celebrated by the inhabitants of the archipelago is important in its own way, and all members of large families, usually living under the roof of one house, take part in the preparatory processes. The women are busy preparing the festive table, which is a lot of national and popular dishes. Men and children, decorate and decorate the house and the surrounding area. Such holidays unite all residents of the country, regardless of status or occupation. The holiday program is extensive and it has room for both modern numbers and ancient traditional entertainment, national dances and playing folk instruments. It is not uncommon to invite musicians playing national music and poets reciting the raiwara, a certain type of poetry, performed at a slow pace. The national feast ends with a feast at which fish and coconut, the main and favorite ingredients used in many national dishes of Maldivian cuisine.
There are several national holidays, and the Maldivians have a special attitude towards them.
June 4-5 is the Holiday of the Republic of Maldives.
July 6-7 is the date, which is the National Holiday, commemorating the liberation of the archipelago from the Portuguese colonizers in 1573.
July 26-27 – the celebration of Independence Day, which recalls the important event when the islanders, won their right to independence from Britain. For Independence Day, schoolchildren get a short vacation and employees get days off. Parades are held in the nation’s capital, the streets are decorated with many banners of red and green colors, music is played everywhere, and in the evening there is a festive fireworks display.
On Republic Day, which is celebrated on November 11, there are solemn processions and marches to celebrate the re-recognition of the republic.
Juravi Day falls on September 1.
October 28 is Martyrs’ Day.
Victory Day celebrations are marked by military parades, marches and colorful processions held in the square in the capital Male. This significant date is celebrated on November 3. The holiday symbolizes the victory over the Lankan government.
November 9 is Victims’ Day, dedicated to the memory of Sultan Ali VI, who died during a battle with the Portuguese, a reminder of the terrible events of that period.
The day of adoption of the third Constitution of the Republic, according to the calendar falls on November 11-12.
The religious holiday of Ramadan, the longest in the Maldives. It falls in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, as this is when Muhammad received his revelation. Ramadan lasts 30 days, beginning with the new moon and ending with the arrival of the next moon. True believing Muslims during Ramadan observe a strict fasting period from sunrise to sunset. The population of the Maldives during this period is focused on the spiritual world, the government offices work until lunchtime. This is because it is not easy to work and fast at the same time, especially in the heat. But in the evenings, Muslims make up for lost time and sometimes sit at the table until morning to continue the prescribed fast at dawn. Ramadan is followed by Eid al-Fitr, which symbolizes the end of the fast. Celebrations are held at the country’s largest mosque, Friday Mosque. Women and men gather for a common prayer. Afterwards, the celebration continues in a home-like atmosphere. The holiday is celebrated for three days and it is the official weekend in which everyone rejoices and feasts.
The Feast of Sacrifice or Eid al-Kebir, a religious feast, falls on the 66th day after the end of Ramadan. It is tradition to sacrifice a large horned animal to the recitation of prayers on this day, but the Qur’an allows the sacrifice to be replaced by the distribution of alms. Many inhabitants of the archipelago do so. The holiday lasts at least five days. It is the official weekend, and everyone visits Mecca during this period. The islanders visit relatives, have fun and feast. According to tradition, it is customary to give gifts and treat each other with various delicacies.
The religious holiday of Mulud is celebrated on June 15. This holiday is dedicated to the birthday of the Prophet everywhere in the traditional way – a feast and festivities for three days.
The favorite holiday of the locals is the Fisherman’s Day, celebrated on December 10. Fishing is a traditional occupation of the inhabitants of the Maldives, the main source of income and the second most important branch of the economy, which replenishes the budget of the republic. Fish is a special product, a staple and a favourite on the table in every home. On Fisherman’s Day fairs are held everywhere, where you can see the most unusual inhabitants of the sea, different in size and appearance, crowding under the tents of fish markets. Each seller wants to surprise his customer with his product. There is music on the day, and the fishermen have their own ensembles that play musical instruments, dance and sing, thus popularizing their profession and praising the rich gifts of the sea. At the festival you can hear the Maldivian rhythms of Bodu Beru and performances of folk groups playing the music of Thaara. Tourists on this day can taste the traditional Maldivian dishes of tuna, mackerel, shrimp and lobster, which are everywhere and have an unprecedented variety.
There are many holidays in the Maldives, which are important, loved and happily celebrated by the locals. Visitors to the republic, being in folk festivals, have a great opportunity to get in touch with the way of life of the Maldivians and participate in the festivities.
Holidays and festivals of the Maldives: meaning, dates and interesting facts
Holidays in the Maldives are always exotic. Each of them is celebrated brightly by the Maldivians and very interesting for any tourist. Both national and religious holidays are often accompanied by festivals, traditions and festivities to the traditional rhythms of boduberu drums*.
The Maldives were under the rule of the Sultanate, Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain for decades. The struggle for freedom was not easy. That is why there are many national festivals and holidays in the Maldives. Like any other colonized people in the past, the Maldivians are very important to show their independence. This is always an exciting spectacle for visitors. If you catch the Maldivian vacations while on vacation in the islands, they will leave you with fond memories.
Boduberu | Kurumba Maldives
National Holidays Maldives
Every year Maldivians celebrate Independence Day on the 26th of July. It was on this day in 1965, the small island nation has defended its independence from Britain. In the Maldives, this is one of the most important dates of the year. The main celebrations are held in Male. In addition to the capital, Independence Day celebrations can be seen on the local islands. It is accompanied by parades, including children’s, ceremonies, colorful and fun activities, street performances. All streets are sure to be decorated with lots of colorful Maldivian flags.
When: July 26.
A historical event commonly referred to in the Maldives as Victory Day. On this day in 1988, Sri Lankan mercenaries made an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The government residence in Male was liberated by the Indian Air Force. The conflict, fortunately, did not result in any casualties. So this holiday can really be called Victory Day. It is accompanied by military parades, costume parades, dancing and good cheer.
When: Nov. 3.
An event of national importance in the Maldives when it celebrates the re-establishment of the Republic of the Islands. This happened in 1968. The special atmosphere of celebration is due to the incredible national pride that comes from adults and children. Like Independence Day, Republic Day is celebrated with marches and parades. And in the evening, formal activities turn to song and dance, noisy and colorful festivities everywhere.
When: Nov. 11.
Another important date in the emergence of Maldivian independence. National Day is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, 11 days before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, and it has no permanent date. The holiday commemorates the victory over the Portuguese conquistadors after a rebellion in 1573. It was led by Mohamed Thakurufaanu, a well-known public figure of that era. Until that day, the Maldives remained a colony for about 10 years.
On National Day, lavish parades are held all over the country. Maldivians celebrate the victory over foreign conquerors according to the Islamic calendar to emphasize the importance of the Muslim faith.
Asad Photo Maldives.
Fishing plays no small part in the economic life of the Maldives. Before the development of the tourism industry, the ocean was for a long time the only breadwinner of the paradisiacal islands. Even today, in the age of tourism, recreational fishing, which is offered by many hotels in the Maldives, is in great demand.
It is the most important trade for all Maldivians, so fishing has its own day on the calendar – December 10. On Fisherman’s Day, there are fish fairs in the capital and on the islands. There’s something new for seafood lovers. The festivities are accompanied by boduberu rhythms and performances of folk ensembles. The festival is a great opportunity to learn more about the local culture and life of the islanders.
When: Dec. 10.
Traditional New Year’s celebrations in the Maldives are celebrated for tourists. After all, the Islamic New Year is different and is strictly religious in nature. On local and private islands for visitors organize the most amazing New Year’s show programs, concerts, art exhibitions, discos, fire shows, barbecues on the beach and more. On New Year’s Eve, the Maldives immerses itself in a fairy-tale atmosphere to pass on to its guests.
When: December 31-January 1.
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Islamic Holidays in Maldives
Islamic New Year
One of the official holidays in the Maldives. Unlike the traditional one, the Islamic New Year doesn’t get as much attention. It’s meant to emphasize once again the cohesion of believers. The change of the year is not considered an important event in the Islamic world. During this time, Muslims should simply lead a modest life, come to the mosque more often and give alms.
When: At the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the year in the Muslim calendar (early April).
Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr
Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the lunar calendar. It is the holy 30 days during which Muslims must observe a strict fast. Only children, the elderly, pregnant women and those who are medically incapable of fasting are exempt from it. During this period in the daylight hours it is forbidden to eat, quench thirst, smoke, listen loudly to music … and a number of other prohibitions.
Ramadan is followed by the Great Feast or Eid al-Fitr, the celebration of the end of Ramadan. The festivities usually last for several days. It’s a weekend when Maldivians just feast and party their hearts out.
The native population of the islands almost universally observes all the canons of Ramadan. Therefore, those guests who stay on the local islands may face inconveniences, not knowing some things. Namely:
- Many stores, cafes and restaurants may not be open during the day.
- In public institutions the working day ends at 1:30 p.m., private institutions are open until 3 p.m.
- You may not be able to exchange money: banks and currency exchange offices may be closed.
When: The date is not fixed. In 2021, Ramadan begins on April 12.
Day of Sacrifice – Eid al-Kebir
The history of this Islamic holiday is based on a story in the Quran. It says that Ibrahim had to do the will of Allah and sacrifice his son. When the ritual was about to take place, a voice from heaven allowed him to replace his son with a lamb. This was the mercy of Allah, which Muslims celebrate every year with the ritual of animal sacrifice of goats, cows, rams, and camels.
Maldivians support the performance of Eid al-Kebir rites. Although not all segments of the population can afford this luxury, because the cost of livestock on the islands is exorbitant. There are even special charities that help hold the festival. At some fairs Maldivians can buy livestock at reduced prices. But many islanders do things a little differently. The Quran allows you to give alms instead of sacrifice.
Despite the religious basis, the holiday is very colorful and Maldivians celebrate it with boisterous fun, food fairs, rich feasts, folk songs, dances and prayers.
When: The Day of Sacrifice is celebrated on the 66th day after the end of Ramadan.
Mulood, or the Prophet’s Birthday
An official holiday in the Maldives that further emphasizes the importance of the Muslim faith. Mulud is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, on the 12th day of the holy month of Rabee-ul-Awwal. In fact, this day is the day Muhammad died. But for Muslims, it signifies his birth into the New Life. The tradition of celebratory processions on this day has its roots in the deep Middle Ages. In this way, it demonstrated the unity of Muslims in opposing Christianity.
When: October, no fixed date.
Day of the Adoption of Islam in the Maldives
The history of the islands’ conversion to Islam is quite long. The Maldivians are proud of it and are happy to celebrate with prayers and religious ceremonies another holiday. According to tradition the last Buddhist king converted to Islam in the 12th century. On the day of the adoption of Islam in the Maldives there are colorful festivals of national unity. This event falls on the 1st day of Rabi al-Thani (the 4th month) in the Islamic calendar.
When: there is no fixed date. In 2021, it will be on November 6-7.
Asad Photo Maldives.
Festivals in the Maldives are an integral part of all national holidays. But there are a couple that are worth mentioning separately.
Bodu Eid Festival
Is part of the holiday Eid al-Kebir (Day of Sacrifice). It is, of course, traditional dancing and gastronomic delights. But on the islands is also observed and some interesting tradition associated with the legend. On this day, fishermen have to fish out of the ocean a giant fish. According to legend, it came out of the sea in the company of ghosts. After a long struggle, the villagers were able to defeat the monster, which they do every year on the Day of Sacrifice. It is a very peculiar production in which a huge fish woven out of palm leaves and surrounded by disguised ghosts is defeated by local brave men. All this is accompanied by fun and traditional Maldivian music.
When: On the holiday of the Day of Sacrifice.
Exotic fruits, delicacies, seafood – all this provides a real gastronomic pleasure. You can double the experience by visiting the most “delicious” festival of the Maldives. It is dedicated to World Food Day, which is also celebrated in the Maldives.
Agricultural level of the island state is notoriously low. Almost all food is imported. Therefore, during the festival a variety of seminars on agricultural development and thematic fairs are held for ordinary farmers. During the festival, producers and farmers from all sides of the archipelago gather in Male. They sell their hard-earned goods, gain new knowledge and skills and take advantage of the many benefits provided by the government as part of the festival.
When: Last week of November.
Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Holidays and Weekends in the Maldives: What Tourists Need to Know
The Islamic State of Maldives has its own peculiarities in the organization of weekends and holidays. In order not to encounter unforeseen difficulties, pay attention to the following points:
- The entrance days in the Maldives are Friday and Saturday. When planning trips, pay attention to the operation of water transport on these days. Read more about transportation in the Maldives here.
- National and Islamic holidays are non-working days.
- Banks and currency exchange offices are closed on holidays and weekends.
- Buses in Male for travel around the city or to the airport are available daily, regardless of the holidays. They run quite frequently. On Fridays, there is a short break from 12:30 to 13:00.
- Most public offices, stores, and cafes may be closed or only open until lunch on holidays and weekends. This does not apply to private island resorts. There for vacationers, everything operates as usual.
Now you have a clear picture of the festivals and holidays of the Maldives. Now you can book your hotel on the islands. WIOTTO’s services are ideal for choosing a villa according to any of your requirements. Start choosing a villa in the Maldives.
Meeru Island Resort & Spa