The Maldives is a dream destination for many thanks to its beautiful islands and marine ecosystem. However, it also has a colourful culture that you can see and experience when you interact with the people of the Maldives. And like any other country, Maldivians have various festivals to look forward to. Since it's a Muslim country, many of the Maldives' holidays are religious ones. If you want to learn more about the festivals in the Maldives and how they're celebrated, keep on reading.

Eid Al-Fitr

Eid Al-Fitr, also locally called Kuda Eid, marks the end of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal which is the 10th month in the Islamic calendar. After a month of fasting from dawn to sunset, Muslims around the world including the people of the Maldives celebrate Eid Al-Fitr. The day generally starts with morning prayer at the mosque where there'll also be a special sermon. Maldivians also visit family and friends and celebrate with delicious food. Eid Al-Fitr is a public holiday in the Maldives lasting three days.

Month of Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar and is observed by fasting from dawn to sunset. During this time, Muslims also practise self-reflection and give more to charity. Something special to look forward to during Ramadan is the breaking of fast, when people in the Maldives sit down and share meals with family and friends. While government and private establishments close early in this month, resorts and hotels operate as usual.

Eid Al-Adha

Eid Al-Adha is celebrated to acknowledge Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Ishmael, when he was ordered to do so by Allah. It falls on the 10th day of the 12th Islamic calendar month and is one of the Maldives' major holidays. On this day, it's customary to slaughter an animal and prepare a feast with it, which is then shared with the local community. Eid Al-Adha is observed with morning prayer, followed by a festive carnival with performances and sports competitions.

Prophet Muhammad's Birthday

Mawlid An-Nabi is another important date for the people of the Maldives as it remembers the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. It's observed in the month of Rabi-ul-Awal, the 3rd month is the Islamic calendar. In the Maldives, this holiday is celebrated with processions in the city. In the mosque and at public gatherings, you can see famous poems and stories about the life of Muhammad being recited as well.

Independence Day

The Maldives used to be a British colony before it became a British Protectorate in 1887. As a protectorate, the country had full control of its internal affairs but foreign affairs were still governed by the British. On July 26th 1965 is when the Maldives obtained complete independence and control over all foreign affairs. Independence Day is celebrated with parades by the National Security Services where there are also performances.

National Day

The Maldives' National Day, known as Qaumee Dhuvas, celebrates Muhammad Thakurufaanu's victory over the colonial Portuguese in 1573 and his occupation of Malé. This drove away the Portuguese after their 15-year long rule. Qaumee Dhuvas falls on the 1st day of Rabi-ul-Awal and involves parades, flag-raising ceremonies, and also fireworks.

Republic Day

Republic Day is the day when the people of the Maldives celebrate the formation of their republic in 1968, after the abolishment of the Sultanate. It's held on November 11th every year, and every five years, it's also the day when the new Maldivian president is appointed. Besides parades and speeches, Maldivians celebrate the day with special delicacies from masroshi, a pancaked with fish filling to huni hakuru folhi, a delicious coconut cake.

Coming to the Maldives during these festivals is a great way to experience the local culture and learn more about the country. You'll also get to share in the festivities with Maldivians and even sample special festive delicacies.

For an authentic Maldivian experience, check out Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas. Book an all-inclusive holiday package with us and enjoy our warm hospitality and selection of Maldivian and international cuisines. We can even help you explore the best destinations around the archipelago.