Celebrating every festival with equal joy and enthusiasm, Maldives is a land of varied culture and heritage that is reflected in the cosmopolitan nature of the country. Be it religious or national, green and red flags could be seen flying and decorating the streets demonstrating the strong patriotic fervor of the citizens. Some of the most popular of these can be listed as follows:
Ramadan: The ninth month in the Muslim calendar, Ramadan marks 30 days of fasting for the Muslims. During this period, work times are altered to suit the festive celebrations. Work day end earlier in both government as well as private offices. Held around August or September this festival celebrates the Islamic nature of the country and is an important event for the citizens of the country. Fasting is held during the daylight and night comes alive with various festivities specific to the event.
Kuda Eid: Marking the official end of the Ramadan month, Kuda Eid is celebrated at the end of Ramadan with big pomp and feast. The day also commemorates the start of the Shawaal month of the Islamic calendar. If you want to enjoy the best feast of Maldives, be there on this day that offers a chance to explore the cultural splendors of the religious faith of Maldives. Men and women gather together early morning in the mosque to offer prayers. Every house prepares a feast and celebrates the same with friends, family and neighbors. The event usually lasts for over three days during which the whole country celebrates the festival with gastronomical extravagances.
Independence Day: Celebrated by the country on 26th July, this is one of the most important days of the country’s calendar. It is the day that celebrates the freedom of Maldives in 1965 after being a British protectorate for over 78 years. Every year on this day, an official event takes place at the Republican Square. There are brightly colored floats and traditional dancing display along with the parade in Male. The event starts with a march past by National Cadet Corps and the National Security Services followed by drills, dances and modern drill presented by hundreds of school children with much fervor and enthusiasm. Whole of the island celebrates the day with festivities, food, performances and parades.
Republic Day: Maldives first became republic on 1st January, 1953 after 100 years of monarchy but it was a temporary phase as the monarchy was reinstated the same year. However, Maldives became a republic second time in the history on 11th November, 1968 which is now celebrated as the Republic Day in the country. Though not as important as the Independence day, the day is still an exciting day for the whole of the country. Being the center of all celebrations, Male hosts a number of parades throughout its streets and parks. Other towns across the country also put up a good show and celebrate the festivities with equal zeal and enthusiasm.
Prophet’s Birthday: Another important religious festival in the Islamic calendar, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabee-ul- Rawaal month. Celebrated all across the country, the day is full of great festivities with friends and family visiting each other and relishing the scrumptious dishes made to mark the day. The day is full of cultural experiences for the visitors as mosques around the country become full of worshippers with even private and government offices closing early to mark the day.
Eid Ul Al’h’aa: Marking the 10th day of Zul Hijja month of Islamic calendar, this day is of great importance to all the Muslims as it marks the embarking of Mecca pilgrimage by many. Those who are unable to go during this period make sure to celebrate it with festivities and celebrations. Said to be the longest holiday of the year in Maldives, people of the country make advance preparations to celebrate the day with visits to the homes of friends and family. Lasting for around five to seven days, the period is full of celebrations with music and dance going hand in hand with modern sports and music. All the people, whether young or old, male or female take part in the celebrations.
National Day: Celebrated on the first day of Rabee-ul Awwal, which is the third month of Islamic calendar, National Day of Maldives is celebrated with much pomp and show across the country. Falling sometime in February or March, the day commemorates the victory of Mohammad Thakurufannu over the Portuguese in 1573. There is an atmosphere of patriotism and gaiety during this day around the country and is celebrated with equal fervor as the religious festivals if not more.