Religious festivals are celebrated in accordance with the lunar calendar, which means that sometimes festivals are announced a day before or after the given date and sometimes declared even without warning.
The 9th month of the Muslim calendar is the month of Ramadan – A festival in which 30 days of fasting is followed. Being a predominantly Muslim nation, the Government offices in Maldives open only between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm during this month. Even the private offices close by 3.00 pm.
The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Kuda Eid which is celebrated with a big feast. Kuda Eid also commemorates the beginning of the month of Shawaal in the Islamic Calendar. Kuda Eid is celebrated with the sighting of the new moon and announced by cannon in Malé and via television. Early in the morning, everyone gathers at the mosque to offer prayers to the Almighty and a big feast follows. This is also a period of charity with families offering Zakath to those less fortunate than them. Kuda Eid is celebrated for three consecutive days which are public holidays.
The Prophet’s birthday, another important religious festival in the Maldives (another religious festival of great importance) is celebrated on the 12th day of the Rabee-ul-Awwal month of the Islamic calendar. Celebrated by all in Maldives, it is a day of great festivity with people visiting each other and relishing the various dishes prepared at each house.
Eid-ul-Al’h’aa falls on the 10th day of Zul-Hijja of the Islamic calendar. This festival is of such great importance that many prefer to embark on a pilgrimage to Mecca during this period. Those who are unable to go, make sure that the time is of celebration and festivity.
A festival which brings with it the longest public holiday (from five to seven days) also brings with it an atmosphere of revelry and feasting. People plan ahead and visit their friends and relatives staying in different islands. Sports including traditional sports, music and dance all form a part of the festivities with people from all walks of life participating to make it a great event.
National Festivals of Maldives
In Maldives, the National holidays are celebrated with as much fervor as religious festivals if not more. There is an atmosphere of national patriotism and gaiety during the national holidays. The National holidays include the National Day, Independence Day and the Republic day.
National Day of Maldives
Celebrated in honour of Mohammed Thakurufannu and observed on the first month of Rabee-ul-Awwal, the National Day commemorates the victory of Mohammed Thakurufannu over the Portuguese in 1573.
Independence Day of Maldives
After being a British Protectorate for about 78 years, Maldives attained independence on 26th July 1965. The Independence Day, observed on the 26th of July every year thereafter, is celebrated with an official event taking place at the Republic Square. The celebrations start in the evening with a march past by the National Security Service and the National Cadet Corps. The march past is followed by performances of drills and traditional dances by school children.
Republic Day of Maldives
Maldives first became a republic on 1st January 1953, after about 100 years of monarchy. But this republic was transitory as the monarchy was reinstated within the same year. However, on 11th November 1968, a republic was formed once more. Thereafter, the Republic Day is celebrated on the 11th of November, year after year.
The Republic Day of Maldives is celebrated with parades and marches of two types – one of the marching bands and one with smartly dressed children parading the streets with neighbors and others as spectators. Special events are also held to mark this day