Today is March 4th, and while the glitter of the main Carnival parade remains part of yesterday’s memories, the event continues with Family Fun Day. Festival-goers can visit the many floats that entertained along the streets of the capital city of Victoria yesterday, and enjoy music from local and international performers on various stages throughout the day. The Food Fiesta continues, as whole families come out in droves to revel in what in two years has become the East African nations’ most popular event.
What makes this carnival so very unique is that there are 33 delegations being featured from the world over. It’s the brainchild of Alain St. Ange, then the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, now the newly-appointed Minister of the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism & Culture, who had a dream of finding the world’s most exceptional carnival acts and bringing them to one world stage in Africa. He admires the carnivals that now define Caribbean countries like Trinidad and Tobago, and feels that Seychelles is the perfect place to create a similar event on the other side of the world.
This year, the Carnaval International de Victoria is the joint effort of both Seychelles and the sister island of La Réunion, and St.Ange has a vision of other African nations such as Zimbabwe, Mauritius, and others jumping on as partners in future carnivals. “Seychelles and La Reunion have joined forces to be co-hosts of the 2012 carnival. Together, we shall be working to firmly establish the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands event as the venue for the world to meet and showcase their culture, people, and beauty.
“This meeting venue is set to remain outside political and religious differences. It is a meeting of people on the islands that consider themselves friends of all and enemies of none,” Alain St.Ange said. He feels the event is a symbol of peace and solidarity among nations, and indeed the event truly is a magnificent symbol of this on a world scale.
The carnival parade took place from 2:30 pm on Saturday through the main streets of the city of Victoria – streets that were packed with what seemed to be the entire Seychelles population of 86,000!
Seychelles also welcomed its biggest contingent ever of press, numbering 75 at last count. They flew from the four corners of the world to cover the 2012 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria.
One of my personal observations is that it was delightful to see whole families out after dark, with both children and adults of all ages strolling the streets in peace, safety, and with smiles on their faces.
I took a little break from the outdoor festivities by heading to a local restaurant called le Rendez Vous and got a table overlooking one of the main intersections that is crowned by the “mini Big Ben.” From here, I could observe jeep-loads of people enjoying the party atmosphere along with all of the color of entertainers and revelers alike who participated in painting a spectacular masterpiece on the canvas that is the Seychelles.
Some of the crowd-pleasing acts this year are Lima Calibo (Trinidad & Tobago); Samba Brazil; Dezil & Team; Michael Quinn & the Bourbon Kings (USA); delegations from China, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, and Notting Hill from the UK.
The success of this year’s event is a good indication that carnival 2013 is bound to be even more spectacular!