The 1967 song of the Seekers, “The Carnival Is Over,” came to mind yesterday evening when at 7 pm the curtain fell over the 2016 edition of the Carnaval de Carnavals, the Carnaval International de Victoria.
The closing ceremony concluded the Kids Carnival Party at Freedom Square in Victoria, and it was a fine party mood all afternoon long. Food and drink stalls did roaring business, and when the team from Brazil took to the stage for a final time this year, there was no holding back of cheers and cat whistles from a clearly excited crowd.
As was the case for the past few years, prizes were given for exceptional performance, costumes, and floats, and local winners, Seychelles Tourism Academy, were joined by countries like Zambia, China, and India, which tied in the judges’ ranking. Both co-hosts, South Africa and Reunion, were called on stage, too, to receive their trophies, but the overall winner once again was Notting Hill, which stole the show, at the opening ceremony as well as during the parade.
The colors of the United Nations of Carnivalistas will probably take a few days to clear from the streets of Victoria, a lingering reminder that the world once again came to the Seychelles from where 124 media houses reported over the past few days to bring some good news into the print and electronic media.
Novel this year was a sideshow on the archipelago’s second island of Praslin. Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St. Ange, his two Principal Secretaries for Tourism and Culture, and the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board took performers from the main parade to Praslin to allow the people living there, who could not make it to Mahe for the opening night or the parade, to get a glimpse into the world of carnivals. The gathered crowd was evidence that this was a gesture well appreciated, and swiftly the idea evolved to maybe do a mini parade for the Praslinoise in a year’s time, because, as Minister St. Ange put it, if the mountain does not come to you, you go to the mountain.
He entertained onlookers with some skilled dance steps to the sounds of the steel band before trying his own hand in beating the drums.
This year’s edition has already gone down in the short 6-year history of the Seychelles Carnival as the best organized and most colorful edition, and the new routing of the parade through town also played a major part in allowing more spectators to line the streets of Victoria and get a glimpse of what carnival means in the big wide world.
This is also the time – no opportunity availed itself for Kitty Pope of Africa Diaspora Tourism in Atlanta and yours truly to make this statement publicly – to, on behalf of the international media and on our own behalf, say thank you to the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Seychelles Tourism Board, and the people of the Seychelles for their warm welcome and their extraordinary efforts to put together individual programs for all of us, reflecting special interests, a massive logistical task very well executed.
It was once again an extraordinary experience and questions posed if this event was not becoming boring can only be answered with a resounding NO, NO, NEVER EVER, as every year new ideas are turned into action, besides which no visit to the Seychelles can ever be described as boring – to the contrary.
While many delegations and performing troupes have already left overnight, some will remain a little longer to explore and discover and write some more, before also flying off to new destinations, new adventures, or simply back home.