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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 22, 2019
Headline for Must-See Festivals in the Maldives - Top Local Festivals to Enjoy in the Maldives
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Must-See Festivals in the Maldives - Top Local Festivals to Enjoy in the Maldives

Although the Maldives is better known as a beach hub rather than a cultural hotspot, the colourful local festivities are a great reason to holiday in the country. Here are some event highlights.

1

Freedom Day

Also known as the Independence Day among locals, Freedom Day in the Maldives marks the handover of the country's rule from British colonialists. Having secured sovereignty and independence from British colonial rule back in 1965, nearly two decades after neighbouring nations such as India and Sri Lanka gained independence, the national holiday is celebrated with great pomp and pageantry each year. Not only are food festivals and parades organized in honour of Freedom Day in the capital Male but every July 26th sees a host of cultural performances also take centre stage across the country.

2

Ramadan

As one of the biggest religious festivals in the country, Ramadan exhibits the country's Islamic heritage. Beginning with a month-long fast when Muslims eat a large breakfast before the crack of dawn and fast for the remainder of the day. Workplaces and government institutions close early on weekdays and there are countless events which take place during August and September, or which month is considered the 9th month according to the Islamic calendar to celebrate Ramadan in style.

3

Republic Day

While Republic Day is not celebrated with as much gusto as Independence Day, this national holiday is an important day in the Maldivian calendar. Marked on the 11th of November every year, the day celebrates the country becoming a sovereign republic for the second time back in 1968, a few years after independence from Britain. Male is at the heart of all Republic Day festivities as parks and the city streets come alive with locals out to make merry and show their patriotism. Visitors based in the best resorts in Maldives for families or any other accommodation hub the likes of Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort and others would be wise to catch a ferry to Male for this special day.

4

The National Day

The National Day in the Maldives falls on the first day of the 3rd month according to the Islamic calendar which usually coincides with February or March in the Georgian calendar. The best part of the National Day festivities are the countless parades which take place all across the capital of the Maldives while marches are also organized in different islands to mark the premier day of Rabee-ul Awwal.

The National Day is celebrated as the very first day of Rabee-ul Awwal, which is held throughout the 3rd month of the Islamic calendar. Falling sometime in February or March, you will see parades and marches across the Maldives.

5

Eid Festival

The Eid Festival is by far the most extravagant cultural festival in the Maldives as it is held at the conclusion of the Ramadan period. Travellers who are heading to the country during this period of time are in for a treat as the three-day festivities not only include family celebrations but grand dining offers and massive meals. Special Ramadan dining rates and buffets are also organized during this time of year and it is the perfect way to sample local delicacies.