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Social Customs & Etiquettes in Mauritius
 
 
 

General

Most outsiders think of Mauritians as being aloof at first. Among themselves they are quite social and friendly, and this ultimately prevails with visitors and locals alike. Visitors should respect the traditions of their hosts, particularly when visiting a private house. The type of hospitality the visitor receives is determined by the religion and social customs of the host, which are closely related. It is appropriate to give a gift as a small token of appreciation if invited for a meal.

Dress is culturally dependent but somewhat conservative. Lightweight and coloured fabrics are usually worn. Attire among women can vary from one-piece bathing suits to complete covering, especially among Muslims. Being topless and nude are not condoned for either sex.

Gender equality has begun to take hold in the last few years. For example, the first lady taxi driver was featured in the news and on the newspapers about 6 years ago. Now jobs such as bus ticket seller (on the bus) which were exclusively male have become quite common for women. Women are expected to achieve academic success at a high level and have jobs that meet those expectations. They tend to be very competitive in this respect.

Meeting & Greeting

A handshake is common among men in most situations. As for women and greetings between women and men, friends and family commonly share a kiss on each cheek. Handshakes may be appropriate during some initial introductions.

Note: Greetings may vary depending each group’s culture: Indian, African, French or Chinese.

Communication Style

Most people tend to be indirect in most situations. People will often tell you what they think you may want to hear rather than risk hurting feelings or embarrassing someone with the truth.

People are proud of their island and may expect you to admit that it’s the closest thing to Paradise, so it’s a good idea to just oblige. Be open and friendly and accept offerings.

An arm’s length of personal space is common for friends and family. For business colleagues and members of the opposite sex this space may be a bit more, but it all depends on how close the relationship is.

Female friends often hold hands while walking and touching. It is common for them to pat each other on the back, arms, shoulders, etc. Men often playfully slap each other on the shoulder, especially good friends and family.

Direct eye contact is acceptable in most situations.

Views of Time

People tend to be punctual in both social and business situations. For example, if invited for lunch to Mauritian home that is called at noon, don’t be surprised to find that people may have already eaten if you are more than 20-30 minutes late.

People do not tend to give their time freely. It’s quite challenging to have people volunteering on weekends for example.

 

 
 

 



 


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