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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 04, 2019
Headline for List of Maldivian Annual Festivals - Local Festival Guide for the Maldives
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List of Maldivian Annual Festivals - Local Festival Guide for the Maldives

Although most travellers head to the Maldives for a beach holiday, there are countless local festivals to enjoy during various times of the year as well. Here's a rundown of some of the highlights.

1

Ramadan

Celebrated on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the month of Ramadan is a sacred time in the Maldives as in most Islamic nations around the world. Beginning with a month-long fast, the festival is of great importance to devotees of the Prophet Muhammad. The festival ends with a formal feast which is enjoyed by family, friends and relatives in grand style and in five-star hotels and restaurants all across the country. The entire country work from 9 am to 1.30 pm during the fasting period and consume a hearty breakfast as they must refrain from eating or drinking during the course of the day and night. Many special sweetmeats are prepared during the festival and include Ramadan juices. The Iftar menu also takes over local eateries as the country assumes a celebratory mood.

2

Bodu Eid

Also known as the Eid ul Adha Festival, this special religious festival sees the citizens of each island congregate while the local fishermen set out to catch a large fish using a palm leave trap. The festival has strong links with the legend of the giant Modu fish, who together with Maali ghosts come out from the sea during this particular time of year. Fish was scarce due to this reason according to the folk tale and it was with the help of a holy individual that villages were able to catch seafood and supply their daily bread. A traditional dance performance by dancers dressed to resemble ghosts called Maali Neshun is also a part of the celebrations.

3

National Day of Maldives

Known officially as Qaumee Dhuvas, the National Day celebrations take centre stage each year to mark the momentous occasion when the country gained sovereignty from foreign rule. The Portuguese were the first invaders to colonize the island in1558 by executing the then sultan. It was Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his troupes which took back the country after a bloody struggle in 1573 although the Maldives then fell under Dutch and British rule respectively. The National Day is marked on the 1st day of the 3rd month in the Islamic calendar and the main highlights include army parades, flag hoisting ceremonies and fireworks. Visitors based at Maldives island resorts the likes of Huvafen Fushi Maldives or any other property will have to travel to Male to witness the main processions and festivities.

4

Republic Day of Maldives

Marked with great pomp and pageantry on the 11th of November each year, Republic Day celebrates the installation of a republican system of government which replaced the centuries-long tradition of Sultanate rule in the country. This is also the day in which a new Maldivian president is sworn into office every 5 years. Parades and speeches are a key part of the celebrations as is the consumption of traditional sweets the likes of Huni Hakuru Folhi and Masroshi.

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