If you’ve lived your whole life in the Western Hemisphere then you know how cold, damp, and miserable the winters can be. No matter how many times you hear “Winter Wonderland” and “White Christmas” played in the malls, you know better. If you’re living in the Southern Hemisphere, then you know how hot summers can get during December. To escape the miseries of extreme cold or heat, a holiday in the Maldives sounds dashing, with all the pearly white pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, untouched by any pollution.
But what is Christmas really like in the Maldives? Oh, did we mention the lovely weather? It’s mostly sunny and clear, with some occasional rainfall but none that lasts a full day.
December Public Holiday
Not many know that the Maldives celebrates a holiday in December called Shaheedhunge Dhuvas or The Martyrs Day. It is an official Maldives public holiday that honours the death of Sultan Ali VI who is considered a national hero and religious martyr. In 1558 the Sultan fought the Portuguese and died bravely in battle. This religious holiday is roughly the equivalent of Christmas in the Maldives. Many locals encourage tourists to experience Martyrs Day instead of Christmas for a different experience. Most of the locals simply attend prayers at a local mosque and afterwards prepare a meal at home or explore and relax at a neighbouring island.
If you plan to spend your Christmas or New Year in Male City or in one of the towns on one of the islands, you will definitely get to experience the Sultan’s public holiday since restaurants and coffee shops will offer their special holiday food preparations and coffee brews. If you plan to spend the holidays at a resort, they offer options for preparing a Christmas meal, except for pork products, which is a bit rare, the Maldives being a Muslim country. Some resorts are willing to prepare pork as an inclusion option, but you need to tell them far in advance.
Some restaurants may also offer special “holiday season” buffets for tourists, especially those that are near special events for “Street Art” and “Graffiti Art.”