Eid ul Adha starts today. For non-Muslims you may have thought that “Eid” had already passed. Well, Eid ul Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan did take place in June. It often gets a high profile due to its association with Ramadan, but to many Islamic scholars, Eid ul Adha is actually a bigger event marking a more sacred event and calling for bigger celebrations.
A few do it bigger than Summer Island with their distinctly Maldivian celebration called “Bodu Mas”…
“Bodu Mas is a tradition a lot of local islanders have during the Eid after Hajj day. We call it Bodu Eid, this Eid is for religiously and traditionally known for celebration and we usually get a longer holiday as well. Bodu Mas is usually accompanied by Maali neshun (ie. dance by a group of people painted and dressed up as Maali – ghosts). If I am not wrong, the story goes like this – A big fish (Modu was) together with Maali (ghosts) comes out from the sea and the men and women in the island tries to catch it. They finally manage to catch it with the help of a holyman in the island, finally ending the night with dancing of the Maali. In summer island, this year, we also brought out a Koadi, the big decorated thing in the front of the parade. However, there is a completely different story this. I think traditionally in different islands, they do it differently. We did a bit of everything. At the local island they do it every year. It’s a custom that has been passed on from years. There was a time that this discontinued in some islands, however, I think, with cultural and traditional awareness, more islands have started practicing these traditional rituals now. First time for Summer Island Maldives as well, and since we had many local guests staying during Eid, it was a fun event, and a great experience for tourists alike.” – General Manager Mariya Shareef
Their “Koadi” is also, by a long shot, the “Best Palm Folding” in the Maldives.
The bounciest walkway goes to Kandima for their ground-level trampoline. Submerged units like this one are a lot more safe (less distance to fall if you stumble off the side) and I find a bit more fun being right at a conventional level but just on a very springy surface.
Everything evolves to more and more colourful and striking variations in the Maldives. Soneva was the first to innovate with picture-shows in paradise, but now many of the top resorts have some sort of outdoor cinema. So not resting on its laurels, its new property Soneva Jani not only innovated with an over-water outdoor cinema, but also made sure that the imaginative entrance was as distinctive as the feature film. This is Soneva Jani’s second nomination for Excellence in a Jetty category having won the award for “Best Arrival Jetty” earlier. In general, Maldives Complete is showing lot of jetty appreciation with the addition of “Arrival Jetty” pictures to the Resort Profiles a few months ago. Great to see Soneva’ ongoing (over-water) trailblazing in this area.
The World Kickboxing Championships conclude today, but the Maldives champ is Kanuhura with their celebrity guest kickboxing programme:
“We are collaborating with the famous fighter and world champion Irshaad Sayed, he is the patron of our martial arts academy. We have launched the beta phase in April during Easter and have received fantastic feedback from our guests. The private or group training sessions with Irshaad rank from beginners so pro level and can be purchased in singe sessions or package rates. Several fighters and trainers will be based on the island in the future, the project will be fully up and running by August 2017.”
Yet another thing to get a kick out of the Maldives.
The Mah Jong table at JA Manafaru’s stand-out games room swings into action at the conclusion of each hand. Maldives holidays are so languid and lazy, even assembling your tiles can be a bit much effort when you could be sipping your pina colada. For a demonstration of its electronic wizardry, check out the YouTube demo below.
Swinging meals on the beach swaying with the ocean breeze at Constance Moofushi.
Resorts feature all sorts of resident creatures including turtles, cats, octopi and rabbits. Many islands host a bevy of birds. But no resident has charmed us as much as “Julietta” at Rihiveli Beach.
Julietta is Rihiveli’s resident Crab Plover. The local story goes that she was found on the neighbouring bird island when the resort was first developed in 1983 and brought over to Rihiveli because she couldn’t fly. Obviously, 34 years is a long life for a bird so there is speculation that this “Julietta” arrived in 2006 after the tsunami hit.
Whatever her back story, her present day exploits are downright captivating. She came right up to us and greeted us sitting on our lounge chairs soon after our arrival. She follows the staff around like a puppy and at one point strolled along with us when a staff member was taking us some place. At first we thought that she was looking for food handouts or droppings, but it turns out she’s not interested human food in the least. All she eats are the little crabs that run across the beach. Actually, the staff can (and do) help her with her meals by shining a torch on the beach when the crabs are most active which helps Jullietta spot them. During a beach dinner one night, Julietta was being particularly sociable and so one of the chefs decided that she deserved some of her own treats. He stepped away from the buffet, turned the flashlight on his iPhone and shined it on the sand while Julietta eagerly snapped up a meal of unsuspecting micro-crustaceans.
But the most fun part of the night was her joining the crowd on the disco floor of the infamous Rihiveli White Party (see photos below). During the thumping house music, she was out there in centre of the dance floor seemingly enjoying the vibe as much as any guest.
Julietta has inspired her own virtual fan club with lots of paparazzi shots of her by visitors posted on TripAdvisor and Flickr. She has become such a high profile part of the property that the resort logo features her (in the midst of some of her disco dancing maybe) – see photo at bottom.
Airplanes aren’t the only things gracing the skies above the Maldives. One of the most distinctive birds in paradise is the “Dhandhifulhu Dhooni” or “White-Tailed Tropicbird.” The bird is quite rare and protected. Dhigufaru is blessed with having a resident pair who are often seen around the water sports centre. Logo designed based n tail. Just a few hundred metres away is a sister island which is actually dedicated to birds dubbed appropriately enough “Birds Island”. These long feathered friends are especially honoured by the property with a rendition of their extraordinary tail fashioned to form the logo of the resort (see below).
The resort to celebration all things aviation is Equator Village. Not only set in the epicentre of Maldives aeronautics past and present, but itself originally an airbase. The villas themselves used to be officer quarters and the dining room the officer’s club. The classic post-war style is still in evidence and the property features a number of reminders of its high flying pedigree. RAF veterans still make regular pilgrimages for reunions to the resort. I especially enjoyed this nostalgic collection of videos taken of Gan way back before the tourism industry had brought foreign guests by the planeload.
For the full story, check out my previous post about the base’s history (as well as some of the other historical highlights of Gan.