Best of the Maldives: Halloween Party – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - halloween party

Happy Halloween!

When we moved to the UK in the early nineties, the British didn’t really celebrate Halloween. It’s since become a more popular holiday, but nothing on par with the USA where it is the second biggest celebration after Christmas. It’s sort of the dream kids holiday – they get to dress up and get free candy. Not wanting to deprive our own little ones of this annual ritual, we hosted our own quite spooktacular Halloween fun all through their childhood and became quite expert in these lavish affairs.

Many resorts will have a few decorations out today and a few sweeties on hand for the young’uns, but Hideaway Beach is the first resort I found that has assembled a comprehensive set of Halloween festivities with all the de rigeur traditions…

  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Creepy Mask Making
  • A Spooky Movie
  • Scary & Spooky Face Paint
  • Trick or Treat Activities
  • Fashion Show Costume Contest

Appropriately, Hideaway Beach is where we first (and only time) spotted a Ghost Pipe Fish (see photo below).  Which make me think that if I could get to the Maldives for Halloween, I would go dresses as a Batfish (Batfish crazy!).

Hideaway Beach - ghost pipe fish

Best of the Maldives: Oktoberfest – Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli - Oktoberfest

München in the Maldives. Jumeirah Vittaveli celebrated a colourful festival of its own during this eponymous month – Oktoberfest.

  • “Jumeirah Vittaveli is proud to announce their collaboration with an authentic Bavarian costume designer – Daniel Fendler has been designing stylish ‘Tracht’ for more than 15 years…Guests visiting beachside restaurant MU Beach Bar & Grill will be welcomed by waitresses and waiters decked out in authentic Bavarian garb – from Dirndl, over apron, to Lederhosen for the gentlemen. With the mood properly set for a fun day in the sun, the resort’s ‘Bierzelt-Bedienungen’ (waiters/waitresses) will serve guests a selection of authentic Bavarian dishes such as Nuernberger, Frankfurter or Kasseler Rippchen, accompanied by a traditional refreshing German drink.”

In fact, we recently helped host an Oktoberfest in our back garden. It is such a lively tradition focused on food, beer and music.

Prost! O’zapft.

Best of the Maldives: Bodu Mas – Summer Island

Summer Island - Bodu Mas

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.

Eid Mubarak!

Summer Island - Bodu Mas 2

Best of the Maldives: Facebook Live – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - live event

If you want to get that much closer to “being there” in the Maldives with their holiday spectacles, then check out LUX South Ari Atoll’s Facebook Live events. This week they featured their fire show by Totem Entertainment as well as Santa’s arrival by seaplane.

Facebook Live is just the latest in LUX’s social media pioneering. Led by marketing manager Dolores Semeraro, LUX was one of the first resorts to embrace Twitter with active and creative uses (like her Twitter chats).

LUX south Ari Atoll - santa seaplane visit

Best of the Maldives: Pageant – Paradise Island

Paradise Island - pageant

The holidays are filled with treats and at Paradise Island this week one fashion feast is the annual holiday pageant where one lucky sun-kissed guest will be crowned “Miss Paradise”….

  • “’Miss Paradise’ is one of the evening events included in our Christmas and New Year program. The participants/pageants are from the in-house guests and panel of judges are also selected from the house. It is a short event conducted at the Main Bar floor with a small runway selecting and announcing the winners.”

Most Christmas pageants I’ve ever been to involve toddlers dressed up as shepherds and sheep falling over each other while they mumble out contrived verses.

Paradise Island - pageant 2

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Oil Making Class – Soneva Fushi

Extracting the very essence of the magic coconut fruit is so easy a child could do it. In fact. at Soneva Fushi, children do do it at the resort’s exquisite summer camp programme

“We head to the spa, where the spa therapist will help the children make fresh coconut oil using coconuts of the island, the children are given the opportunity to take part in all aspects of making the oil.”

Sounds a bit better than the “bug juice” and frigid lake swims when I went to Camp Belknap as a child. If you want to give it a go at home, I’ve found a pretty handy video guide above.

World Snorkeling Day – 30 July

World Snorkeling Day

Maldives Complete declares today, 30 July, “World Snorkeling Day”!

There is a “Day” for just about everything. Just in this blog, I have celebrated…

Not to mention, National Days for USA, Italy, China, Turkey, Japan, South Africa and of course the Maldives. In fact, Wikipedia lists over 200 international days of observance.

And yet for the one thing in the Maldives where it stands heads and shoulders above all other destinations, there is no “Snorkeling Day”? June is SCUBA Month with its own special “Dive In Day” (11 June).

I have decided on today – July 30 – as it is the birth of the snorkel. On this day in 1932, Joseph L. Belcher patented “Belcher Breathing Apparatus”.

One detail I do need to clarify is the spelling. One L or two and I’m not talking lumps. The UK spelling is “snorkelling” and the American spelling is “snorkeling”. On this very blog, being an American relocated to England, I go back and forth between both so it is admittedly confusing.

However you spell it, today spell reef madness time so get on your fins, mask and snorkel to enjoy the underwater spectacle of the oceans.

Best of the Maldives: Triathlon – Kurumba

Kurumba - Triathlon

 

Also flying around the hazardous cobbles of Male, nearly as death defying as the Red Bull skateboarding crew, is the Kurumba triathlon team. The only resort team in this the Maldives’ second ever triathlon, Thinvaru Triathlon.

Team Kurumba broke up the event by discipling with each member completing a different leg/discipline…

  • Swimming: Recreation Manager, Aishath Rizuna
  • Cycling: General Manager, Jason Kruse
  • Running: Fleet Manager, Shameem Mohamed

Each team member prepared extensively, but the big event was full of challenges and not just the obvious multi-disciplinary, cardio-pulmonary ones.

Rizu is always in the water and the swimming leg was held in a protected part of the ocean by Male. Nonetheless, it was Rizu’s very first competitive swim (and she’s not a big fan over wearing goggles).

Jason rides on a home cycle trainer 4-5 times a week, but quickly discover that IRL is a bit different. First of all, this non-native had to just find his way around one of the smallest capital cities in the world (Shameem had to take Jason for a motorbike ride around the course the day before the event so that he would not get lost). And on the day, the roads weren’t actually closed for the event. So Jason and other cyclists had to dodge cars, motorbikes and anything else that wandered onto the streets. All racing full speed along some pretty rough and cobbled surfaces. “Risky to say the least,” Jason noted.

Shameen runs 5-6 times per week for health and fitness. And he had to face perhaps the most bizarre hazard of all as he was confronted by a steady barrage of people on motorbikes coming up to photograph (pap life).

Jason summarised the event saying, “Really interesting with the road surface and that the roads were not closed…Bit of extreme cycling and running. Personally, I loved the well set out transition with the shoes, for the mountain bike with the colourful spokie dokiesWe also really liked that many different people at different fitness levels gave it a try. From Maldives fastest swimmer and runner, to some competitors who were there just to try and finish.

But Team Kurumba didn’t just finish, but came in with an impressive 9th place overall team finish.

The next event is being planned for Hulemale in May 2016. Yay Kurumba.

Best of the Maldives: Whale Shark Event – LUX* Maldives

LUX Maldives - whale shark sand sculpture

 

 

Forget the 3-days off of Monday’s holiday (Summer Bank Holiday in the UK, Labor Day in the USA), the highlight this weekend is Discovery Channel’s mega #Shweekend! And LUX Maldives is coincidentally holding its own shark celebration of most mega-shark of all – Whale Shark…

“LUX* Maldives will team up once again this year with the Maldivian Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) and IUCN for the organization of the Whale Shark Festival, to be held at Maamigili Island on the 29th of August. ‘To raise once again awareness of conservation issues and the marine diversity in the Maldives, LUX* Maldives has decided to support the volunteers working for MWSRP in sponsoring the Festival.’ A whale shark replica competition, sea-creatures sand sculptures and painting competition alongside a family scavenger hunt and special ‘cinema paradiso’ sessions with marine life documentaries will be organized. Above all, the participation of highly experienced Maldivian artists including the famous Maldivian singer Unoosha, as guest of honor will permit to add a heart-lighted exposition of the event across the South Ari Atoll, Malé and beyond. Unoosha will be performing as part of the Festival’s Finale and will be one of the three judges looking at costume design, the whale shark mascots and mobile art work created by local island communities.”

If you are planning your own holiday #Shweekend celebration, you might consider a tuna salad on the menu from Marks & Spencer. M&S have teamed up specifically with the Maldives to fund “Project Greenfin” which provides training and other resources to the Maldivian fishing community so they don’t have to rely on any shark fishing for their income and M&S have made a commitment to source only eco-friendly tuna.

Cue cellos!

 

LUX Maldives - whale shark festival