Maha Shivaratri, February/March
Festival Kréol, December
Père Laval Feast Day, September
January is high season, with warm temperatures, but rain and even cyclones are possibilities. Hotel prices soar over the New Year period, but taper off later in the month.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year falls in late January or early February. On New Year's Eve homes are spring cleaned and decked in red, the colour of happiness. Firecrackers are very big here and Port Louis in particular crackles with noise and energy. Resorts often have themed dinners.
February's weather is fairly similar to January, with hot, humid conditions and the chance of rain and even cyclones. Because most of Europe and elsewhere is now back at school, however, crowds are generally smaller.
This massive February or March pilgrimage sees up to 500,000 Hindus make their way by all means possible to the holy lake of Grand Bassin, close to Black River Gorges National Park. The lake's waters are said to come from the sacred Ganges River.
March continues the trend of warm temperatures with possible rain. The chance of cyclones remains but is diminished. Festivals across the country add plenty of local colour.
Rodrigues lives and breathes fish, and the Fête du Poisson, held in the first week of March, marks the opening of the fishing season. It is celebrated with all sorts of festivities, including fishing expeditions…and lots of eating.
Holi, the festival of colours in Mauritius, is known for the exuberant throwing of coloured powder and water. The festival symbolises the victory of divine power over demonic strength. The night before Holi, bonfires are built to symbolise the destruction of the evil demon Holika.
The weather starts to turn around April – this is usually the last month when cyclones affect weather patterns across the region and temperatures begin to drop slightly and rains generally ease.
Tamil New Year
Wherever there are large Indian communities, the Tamil New Year is marked with great gusto, with dance displays often forming the centrepiece of the celebrations. The New Year can ensure that things grind to a halt for a few days in predominantly Tamil areas.
Although this can change depending on the timing of French school holidays, May is generally a great time to visit – fewer tourists, moderate prices, milder temperatures and rain and wind are rarely a problem.
Temperatures fall, as do most hotel prices, but winter here is still much warmer than in Europe or North America, making this a good time to escape the winter blues.
A fairly quiet month with relatively mild temperatures, little rain to speak of and lower hotel prices (unless French school holidays fall in July). If it is school holidays, all bets could be off, but it's still not high season.
Some of the world's best kitesurfers descend on Rodrigues in late June or early July for the Rodrigues International Kitesurfing Festival, which has been running since 2013.
Dry skies, moderate temperatures and comfortable levels of humidity reign in August. Prices may be higher than other times of year due to French school holidays and European summer vacations in general.
An extension of the Indian Ocean winter, September remains cooler and generally dry. The European school-holiday crowds have largely gone and the holidaymakers of later in the year have yet to arrive.
Père Laval Feast Day
The most important date for many Mauritian Christians is 9 September, Père Laval Feast Day, which marks the anniversary of the priest's death. Pilgrims from around the world come to his shrine at Ste-Croix, on the outskirts of Port Louis, to pray for miracle cures.
This is the month when visitor numbers and prices start to creep up, although you may find bargains early in the month. High-season prices may or may not apply, depending on the resort.
Mauritius marks the Tamil festival of light Divali (Dipavali) in late October or early November. It celebrates the victory of Rama over the evil deity Ravana, and to mark this joyous event countless candles and lamps are lit to show Rama the way home from his period of exile.
November is an especially good time to visit Mauritius. The weather's warming up, the rains usually don't begin until later in the year and the crowds of December have yet to arrive.
The first half of December is much like November, although the rains can make an appearance to dampen things a little. As Christmas approaches, prices soar to their highest all year.
The three-day Festival Kréol entails traditional Creole ceremonies across the country, with particularly vibrant festivities in Rodrigues. Rodrigues' population is overwhelmingly Creole, making it a major centre for Creole culture. This festival is like a national day with food, music and other cultural celebrations.
Teemeedee is a Hindu and Tamil fire-walking ceremony to honour various gods. Held throughout the year, most celebrations are in December and January when participants walk over red-hot embers scattered along the ground. Asking your hotel's staff can help you access this predominantly local affair.
Around one-quarter of Mauritius' population (and almost everyone in Rodrigues) is Christian (the Franco-Mauritians and predominantly Roman Catholic Creole population), and Christmas is an important celebration, both at a family level and publicly. Most resorts will put on some form of Christmas celebration (usually through food).