Review of Seychelles’ 2018 cultural events
In 2018 Seychelles will be playing host to three major international sporting happenings that, between them, stand to boost its reputation for holding successful events and, at the same time, add value to its tourism industry.
The three events scheduled to be held in Seychelles during the course of 2018 are the Fédération Internationale de Natation (Fina) Open Water World Cup, the fourth edition of the Sailing Regatta and golf’s Staysure Championship.
For the very first time, Seychelles will host the second of nine series of the Fédération Internationale de Natation Open Water World Cup series 2018 with a 10km Elite marathon swimming competition to be held on May 20 at Beau Vallon. The Fédération Internationale de Natation (Fina) has entered into an agreement with Seychelles whereby Seychelles will host a series of the competition every year for the next four years.
This is the first time that Fina choses an African country to host a series of such a competition and top swimmers from many countries worldwide will be in Seychelles for the event giving valuable exposure to competing Seychellois swimmers. The best male and female Seychellois swimmers will represent Seychelles during the remainder of the series due to take place in Portugal, Hungary, Canada, Chun’An in China, Taiwan and Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The Seychelles Sailing Regatta is the successor to the Seychelles Sailing Cup that traces its origins back to the early 2000s. This bigger and better version has arrived back on the scene and is now preparing for its fourth edition. The competition will be held from May 27th to June 3rd, 2018, a period that has been chosen for its favourable wind and sea conditions with an anticipated 15 to 20 knots southerly wind and typical Seychelles’ sunshine.
The final event of the year comes just as 2018 draws to a close in the form of an international golf competition: The Staysure Tour Championship.
With negotiations still ongoing, this would be the first time that a major finale, in this case the end of the Staysure Tour, is played in Seychelles, attracting a total of 32 top notch golfers including Ryder Cup Captains, players and Major winners.
By hosting the finale, Seychelles will receive exposure across the entire season and that will help position Seychelles as a highly desirable destination to global golf and high net worth global markets driving high yield inbound tourists to Seychelles.
Besides these happenings, Seychelles traditionally hosts several other events during the course of the year. The first of these is Festival Creole.
The Seychelles’ Creative Industries and National Events Agency [CINEA] now hosts the Creole Festival, traditionally held in October.
The month-long event features musical animation in Victoria, traditional dance performances, exhibitions, seminars on various topics surrounding the Creole heritage, fashion events showcasing professional designers and fashion students, are some of the events featured on the programme of activities.
The ‘Kanmtole Competition’ is among the most popular activities where school students as well as participants from workplaces and districts compete in showcasing their skills dancing the Seychelles’ traditional dances of European origin – known as the “kanmtole”.
Also popular is ‘Fon Lanmal’ a fashion evening featuring professional designers from Seychelles and other Creole countries, as well as students from the local art and design school. Classifying participants in separate categories, the event is aimed at showcasing talent in designing traditional costumes or culturally-inspired contemporary fashion.
New to the Festival Creole is an International Senerade [Laserenade Enternasyonal]. This is the former Carnaval International de Victoria previously organized by the Seychelles Tourism Board that has been merged with the traditional serenade held each year during the Creole Festival.
The International Serenade features participants from Seychelles, other Creole nations as well as guests from non-creole countries parading the streets of Victoria depicting their respective cultures through colourful costumes, music, dance and other performances.
The Festival Creole is the main event that celebrates the Seychelles’ Creole origin and culture through dances, other cultural manifestation, literature and cuisine among others.
It was to uphold the Creole culture that the first Creole week was organised in 1982, later becoming the Creole Festival in 1985.
The philosophy behind this annual marathon held at the end of every February, is to promote healthy living, for which running through Seychelles pristine, beautiful countryside and enjoying its stunning scenery and unique flora & fauna is a powerful icon attracting runners from Seychelles, USA, France, South Africa, South Korea, Italy, Germany, Spain, Nigeria, Netherlands, Mauritius and Cameroon, among others.
Organised in conjunction with Seychelles Honorary Consul in South Korea, Mr. Dong Chang Jeong and Korean partners, the success and popularity of the Eco-friendly marathon are the results of the increasing number of cross-cultural exchanges taking place between South Korea and Seychelles.
Starting from humble beginnings and now having seen its 10th edition, the competition has swelled to accommodate 4000 locals and several hundred foreign competitors over a variety of distances including the full and half-marathon, 10 kilometre and 5 kilometre runs.
Traditionally held during the annual, September Tourism Week, the Seychelles Ball is an eloquent reflection of Seychelles’ style and joie-de-vivre. This is an evening when all members of the Seychelles Tourism Board and their trade partners, both local and international, have the opportunity to appear in the height of tropical finery for an evening event that features a selection of live bands, excellent cuisine and an unforgettable Seychellois Creole ambiance.
La Fête La Digue
Every 15th August the residents of La Digue Island celebrate the religious holiday of the Feast of the Assumption, an event that inevitably draws people with roots in Seychelles fourth largest island, back to the island of their birth for a very special ‘homecoming.’
Steeped in tradition, its very own particular customs and sleepy island ways, La Digue’s celebration of 15th August has always been a special event that attracts people from all across the archipelago like a magnet.
The celebrations start with an open-air mass at ‘La Grotto’ attended by the Bishop of La Digue and his flock on the occasion of the Assumption of Mary or the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life. Traditionally, this grand gathering of worshippers becomes a procession through the lanes of La Digue to mass at the picturesque St. Mary’s Church.
After the celebration of mass, residents and visitors from home and abroad join in the animated, colourful atmosphere that traditionally lasts for the entire day and well into the night and which takes the form of impromptu street parties and live music shows, with food and beverages of all kinds available from vendors.
La Fête La Digue, gives visitors a chance, not only to celebrate a significant moment in the religious calendar, but also to taste the unique, timeless atmosphere of one of Seychelles’ most traditional islands.
For information about other events, please consult Seychelles’ Creative Industries and National Events Agency [CINEA]