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  4. Holidays and festivals in the Maldives: meaning, dates and interesting facts

Holidays in the Maldives are always exotic. Maldivians celebrate each of them brightly and it is very interesting for any tourist. Both national and religious holidays are often accompanied by festivals, traditions and festivities to the traditional rhythms of the drums of the boduberu.

*For words such as boduber as well as other obscure names, read the Maldivian Vacation Dictionary.

The Maldives have been under the rule of the Sultanate, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for decades. The fight for freedom was not easy. Therefore, there are many national festivals and holidays in the Maldives. As any other colonized populations in the past, it is very important for the Maldivians to demonstrate their independence. It is always a spectacular sight for visitors. If you come across Maldivian holidays while on holiday in the islands, they will leave the most pleasant memories of your lifetime.

Kurumba Maldives
Boduberu | Kurumba Maldives

Maldives National Holidays

Independence Day

Every year on July 26, the Maldivians celebrate Independence Day. It was on this day in 1965 that a small island nation defended its independence from Great Britain. In the Maldives, this is one of the most important dates of the year. The main celebrations take place in Male. In addition to the capital, the celebration of Independence Day can be seen on other local islands. It is accompanied by parades, including children's ones, ceremonies, colorful and fun events, street performances. All streets are necessarily decorated with a large number of colorful Maldivian flags.

When: July 26.

Kanuhura Maldives
Kanuhura Maldives

Victory Day

A historical event, which in the Maldives is usually called Victory Day. On this day in 1988, Sri Lankan mercenaries made an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the then incumbent President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The government seat in Male was liberated by the Indian Air Force. Fortunately, there were no casualties in the conflict. Therefore, this holiday can really be called Victory Day. It is accompanied by military parades, costume processions, dances and good mood.

When: November 3.

Republic Day

An event of national importance in the Maldives when the re-formation of the republic of the islands is celebrated. It happened in 1968. The special atmosphere of the 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. In addition, in the evening, official events turn into songs and dances, widespread noisy and vibrant festivities.

When: November 11.

National day

Another important date in the formation 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 fixed date. The holiday is dedicated to the memory of the victory over the Portuguese conquistadors after the uprising in 1573. It was headed by a well-known public figure of that era - Muhammad Thakurufaanu. Until that day, the Maldives remained a colony for about 10 years.

Lavish parades are held throughout the country on National Day. The Maldives celebrate the victory over foreign conquerors on the Islamic calendar in order to highlight the importance of the Muslim faith.

When: October.

Asad Photo Maldives
Asad Photo Maldives

Fisherman's day

Fishing plays a significant role in the economic life of the Maldives. Prior to the development of the tourism industry, the ocean for a long time remained the sole breadwinner of the paradise islands. Even today, in the age of tourism, recreational fishing, which is offered to guests by many hotels in the Maldives, is in great demand.

This is the most important fishing for all Maldivians, so fishing has its own day on the calendar - December 10th. On the day of the fisherman, fish fairs take place in the capital and on the islands. Here seafood lovers will definitely find something new for themselves. The feasts are accompanied by the rhythms of boduberu and performances of folk ensembles. The festival provides an excellent opportunity to get to know the local culture and life of the islanders.

When: December 10.

New Year

Traditional New Year holidays in the Maldives are celebrated for tourists. After all, the Islamic New Year is different from it and has a purely religious character. On local and private islands, the most amazing New Year's shows, concerts, art exhibitions, discos, fire shows, barbecues on the beach and more are organized for visitors. On the eve of the New Year, the Maldives immerse themselves in a fabulous atmosphere to convey to their guests.

When: December 31 - January 1.

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

Islamic holidays in the Maldives

Islamic New Year

One of the official holidays in the Maldives. Unlike traditional, the Islamic New Year does not receive as much attention. It is intended to once again emphasize the solidarity of believers. The change of the year is not considered an important event for the Islamic world. At this time, Muslims should simply lead a modest lifestyle, more often come to the mosque and give alms.

When: at the beginning of Muharram - the first month of the year according to the Muslim calendar (early April).

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr

Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the lunar calendar. It lasts for a sacred 30 days during which Muslims must observe strict fasting. Only children, the elderly, pregnant women and those who are not able to fast for medical reasons are exempt from it. During this period, during daylight hours, it is forbidden to eat, quench thirst, smoke, listen to music loudly ... and a number of other prohibitions.

After Ramadan comes the Great Feast, or Eid al-Fitr - the holiday of the end of Ramadan. Festivities on this occasion usually last for several days. This is the weekend when the Maldivians are just feasting and having fun from the heart.

The indigenous population of the islands almost universally observes all the canons of Ramadan. Therefore, those guests who stay on local islands may encounter inconveniences without knowing some points. Namely:

  • Many shops, cafes and restaurants may be closed during the day.
  • In public institutions, the working day ends at 13:30, private institutions work until 15:00.
  • You will 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 12th.

Kanuhura Maldives
Kanuhura Maldives

Day of Sacrifice - Eid al-Kebir

The history of this Islamic holiday is based on one of the plots of the Quran. It says that Ibrahim had to fulfill the will of Allah and sacrifice his son. When the ritual was almost completed, with a voice from heaven he was allowed to replace his son with a lamb. Such was the mercy of Allah, which Muslims celebrate annually with the rite of sacrifice of animals - goats, cows, rams and camels.

Maldives support the performance of the Eid al-Kebir rites. Although not all segments of the population can afford such a luxury, the cost of livestock on the islands is sky-high. There are even special charitable organizations that help organize the celebration. At selected fairs, Maldivians can buy livestock at discounted prices. However, many islanders do a little differently. The Quran allows charity to be given instead of sacrifice.

Despite the religious background, the holiday is very colorful and the Maldivians celebrate it with wild fun, food fairs, rich feasts, folk songs, dances and prayers.

When: Day of Sacrifice is celebrated on the 66th day after the end of Ramadan.

Mulud, or the Birthday of the Prophet

An official holiday in the Maldives, which once again underlines the importance of the Muslim faith. Mulud is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, on the 12th day of the holy month of. In fact, this day is the day of Muhammad's death. But for Muslims, this means his birth in a New Life. The tradition of festive processions on this day goes back to the deep Middle Ages. Thus, the solidarity of Muslims in opposition to Christianity was demonstrated.

When:: October, no fixed date.

Day of the adoption of Islam in the Maldives

The history of the conversion of the islands to Islam is quite long. Maldivians are proud of her and happily celebrate another holiday with prayers and religious ceremonies. According to legend, the last Buddhist king converted to Islam in the 12th century. On the day of the adoption of Islam in the Maldives, vibrant festivals of national unity are held. This event falls on the 1st day of the month of Rabi al-Thani (4th month) according to the Islamic calendar.

When: there is no fixed date. In 2021 - November 6-7.

Asad Photo Maldives
Asad Photo Maldives

Maldives festivals

Festivals in the Maldives are an integral part of all national holidays. However, there are a couple of them that are worth mentioning separately.

Bodu Eid Festival

It is part of the Eid al-Kebir (Day of Sacrifice) holiday. These are, of course, traditional dances and gastronomic delights. But on the islands there is also a certain interesting tradition associated with the legend. On this day, fishermen must catch a giant fish from the ocean. According to legend, she came out of the sea in the company of ghosts. After a long struggle, the inhabitants of the village were able to defeat the monster, which they do every year on the Day of Sacrifice. This is a very peculiar production, during which a huge fish wicker made of palm leaves, surrounded by disguised ghosts, is defeated by local daredevils. All this is accompanied by fun with traditional Maldivian music.

When: on the feast Day of Sacrifice.

Food festival

Exotic fruits, delicacies, seafood - all this is a real gastronomic pleasure. You can double your experience by visiting the most “delicious” festival in the Maldives. It is dedicated to World Food Day, which is also celebrated in the Maldives.

The agricultural level of the island state, as you know, is not high. Almost all food products are imported. Therefore, on the days of the holiday, various agricultural development seminars and thematic fairs are held for ordinary peasants. During the festival in Male, growers and farmers from all over the archipelago gather. They sell everything that is grown by overwork, acquire new knowledge and skills, taking advantage of a number of advantages provided by the state within the framework of the festival.

When: last week of November.

Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Meeru Island Resort & Spa

Holidays and weekends in the Maldives: what a tourist needs to know

The Islamic state of the Maldives has its own peculiarities in organizing weekends and holidays. To avoid unforeseen difficulties, pay attention to the following points:

  • Entrance days in the Maldives are Friday and Saturday. When planning your trips, pay attention to the work of water transport on these days. More information about transport 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 to travel around the city or to the airport are available daily, regardless of holidays. They run quite often. There is a short break on Fridays - from 12:30 to 13:00.
  • Most government offices, shops, cafes on holidays and weekends can be closed or work only until lunchtime. This does not apply to private island resorts. There everything works as usual for vacationers.
You now have a clear picture of the festivals and celebrations in the Maldives. Now you can book a hotel on the islands. WIOTTO services are ideal for choosing a villa according to any of your requirements. Start selecting a villa in the Maldives.

Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Meeru Island Resort & Spa


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