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Culture - Arts | Travel - Leisure

Seychelles to organise "prestigious" carnival

Poster of the 2011 "Carnaval International de Victoria"

© afrol News
afrol News, 2 November
- Seychelles is planning an international carnival scheduled to take place in its capital Victoria in March 2011, echoing the time when Seychelles first became a melting pot of different cultures from the entire world.

Plans to organise a carnival in Victoria came after an initiative from the island nation's dominant tourism industry, seeking to add another event to its schedule, particular during a time of year when capacities are typically not fully exploited.

But the commercial plans soon created enthusiasm among more Seychellois, a nation of multi-cultural origin accustomed to share its tropical and colourful traditions with large numbers of visitors from the cold north.

A theme to reflect Seychelles' ample cultural palette was therefore chosen, rallying local support and engagement in the new event. The 4-7 March "Carnaval International de Victoria" is to represent "the melting pot of cultures" - the official slogan of the event - and present Victoria's "multi-ethnic origins".

International advice was also sought to organise the event. With participants from several countries with famous carnivals of their own, the Victoria Carnival was now "on course to bring the capital to life with a grand, open-air restaurant featuring food – and music – from across the world as local hotels set up alfresco restaurants showcasing their particular culture's culinary skills," according to organisers.

The official opening of the carnival, attended by visiting dignitaries from the various participating countries, will take place on 4 March. Swelled by sailors from international navies whose visits are being planned to coincide with the 3-day carnival, the event is then move into "Carnival Day", featuring a procession of participants' floats on a circular itinerary through the streets of the capital and against a backdrop of music, dance and colourful costumes.

Seychelles is also expected to add its own floats to the procession, featuring the attributes of its main islands, celebrating the fact that Seychelles remains an important, harmonious melting pot of peoples from across the world.

"The event will have its very own carnival song, composed by local artists to reflect the country's three national languages: Creole, English and French, as well as music from the participants' countries. The local population and visitors will all be encouraged to participate in the spirit of the carnival and its various activities," according to organisers.

Seychelles meanwhile has an ample experience in organising large and colourful events, despite its minor population of around 85,000. Only last week, the island state celebrated its annual Creole Festival for the 25th time.

According to Alain St Ange of the Seychelles Tourism Board, the Creole Festival for now is one of the country's main annual events and this was set to remain so as Victoria was seen as "the Capital of the Creole World." More would be done to "ensure that the world knows" that every year in October, "Seychelles brings to life the Creole culture" Mr St Ange said.

Mr St Ange also plaid a part in preparing the archipelago's new annual event, the Victoria Carnival. The Tourism Board earlier this year hoped the idea would create "a crowd-pleaser" and "widespread international press coverage."

The aims for the Seychelles carnival are not small. "Seychelles, in 2011, is set to become the stage for representatives of the world's most prestigious carnivals," Mr St Ange announced in August.

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