Truth or fiction, the island’s myths have forged the soul and character of the islanders and are witnesses to the island’s history. Even today, these legends of old remain omnipresent throughout Reunion.
A reunion with friends
A land of mixture and harmony, the island is a cultural melting pot. And this is borne out in the legend of three friends: Arlin, Irvin and Rachid. These heroes, seeking the truth and wanting to defend their respective religions – Muslim, Hindu and Christian – ended up agreeing while gazing at the ocean from the island’s heights. This reunion gave the island its name and became a lovely fable that highlights the value the islanders place on mutual respect and tolerance.
Protection against the volcano
Although the lava flows from Piton de la Fournaise have made the island fertile, they can sometimes be destructive. And the islanders know this only too well! To protect himself from the raging volcanic, a certain Monsieur Leroux allegedly set up a statue of the Virgin Mary holding a parasol in his field in the town of Sainte-Rose. As a result, his lands were miraculously spared and a legend was born.
A statue for freedom
The history of Reunion is full of legends of men and women seeking emancipation. The statue of the Black Virgin of Rivière des Pluies, a protector of fleeing former slaves, reminds visitors that freedom is one of the most precious possessions.
Behind the waterfall
Some sad legends lie behind some of the island’s most beautiful landscapes. The Bride Veil Falls, Reunion’s famous waterfall, is said to have appeared following an impossible and tragic love affair between a rich man and a poor young girl whose father did not accepted the couple’s marriage.
A terrifying grandmother
While it may be pleasant to listen to the gentle song of tropicbirds while you’re enjoying a walk, more disturbing noises can also resonate on the island of Reunion: those of Grandmother Kal. It is said that the soul of this old lady, who’d had a troubled life, survived after her death and that she would prowl around the island’s huts announcing ominous omens.
A sorcerer on the island
Given Reunion’s sometimes almost otherworldly landscapes, it’s hardly surprising that the island has become a land of myths, where legends like that of Sitarane are widespread. While some view him as a thief and a murderer and others as a witch with a penchant for black masses, one thing is certain: Sitarane’s name still echoes around the island’s huts!
A hero of the air
Reunion is the birthplace of many myths, some of which have arisen from historical figures who have created their own legends: Roland Garros, an aviation pioneer, is one of them. His exploits in the air made him one of the most famous Reunion islanders, and today, many places on the island still bear his name.
Over the centuries, Reunion has seen many explorers from across the ocean, but not all of them came in peace in search of a place to settle. Life on the island has long been interrupted by pirates, whose stories have become part of Reunion’s folklore.