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The smallest of the islands of the moon
Mohéli, with 290 km2 (24 km by 12) is the smallest of the four islands of the Comoros archipelago, which is also composed of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mayotte. Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli form the independent Union of Comoros, where as Mayotte is a French overseas territory. Mohéli is the wildest and least populated island of the Union, but also the most scenic and preserved, the true “Pearl of the Comoros”.





A rich history, and welcoming people
The earliest inhabitants of Comoros were Southeast Asians in the 8th century. Thereafter, African, Arabs and Persians immigrants gave birth to the Swahili culture, linking the islands to East Africa. The first Europeans to land on the islands were the Portuguese in the 19th century, but the French were more determined in colonizing the islands and by the late 19th century the Comoros islands were French run, until 1975 and the independence. Only Mayotte decided to remain French. From that time, there was a lot of political turmoil, but nowadays Comoros are a really peaceful and tranquil country. Mohéli is nowadays much safer than any Western country, with thievery almost unheard of. Its 35000 inhabitants mainly live off the land and sea, as there are no industries on Mohéli. Mohélians are muslim and very tolerant. Islamic Culture has led to the adoption of many aspects of Arab dress and custom. Women cover their heads when walking outside of home, water is used instead of toilet paper, and men spend many hours discussing in the shade and playing dominos. However, what will strike you most is the hospitability of the people.
Celebrations
Celebrations in Comoros means eating big. If you step foot on Mohéli in July or August, you will certainly have a chance to take part to a “Grand mariage” (literally great wedding), which festivities can last for more than a week. The most elaborate sometimes require more than 3 years of planning. Among the other different manifestations, you will see dances like the wadaha (women’s dance), the chigoma (men’s dance), or the diridji (men’s danse around a table). You will admire the jewels and beauty masks of the women. The gala evening is for both men and women, and you might be invited to dance along. The most spectacular of all certainly is the tam tam boeuf, where men defy a bull dancing before letting it go run in the streets.
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