China Day: Chinese community in Seychelles gathers for start of Spring Festival
The Chinese community in Seychelles joined others in the country outside the National Museum of History to usher in the celebration of the start of the Year of the Rabbit at a bazaar on Saturday.
The China Day event in the capital Victoria remade its appearance on the archipelago’s cultural calendar after a three-year absence due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
“I wish you all a very good Year of the Rabbit, good health and nothing but good to everyone,” said the outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Seychelles, Guo Wei, while launching the bazaar of Chinese food and artefacts.
“Prosperity to the people of Seychelles and the country, and long live the Sino-Seychellois friendship!” she said.
The 10th China Day activities were held with the support of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts (SNICHA), as well as the Chinese community in Seychelles, so that visitors to the fair could experience the charm of Chinese culture and cuisine.
Visitors to the bazaar had about 17 stalls to visit – mainly with authentic Chinese food – and buy the items on sale.
Chinese products and specialties on display at the China Day bazaar (Jude More, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License CC:BY
With the first arrival of Chinese immigrants to Seychelles in 1863 aboard a merchant ship, the two countries have had developed a strong cultural bond and established diplomatic ties in 1976.
“Seychelles, from its humble beginnings, welcomed a diverse group of people originating from Europe, Asia and Africa,” said SNICHA Secretary General David Andre, in his speech to launch the bazaar.
He went on to add that as Seychelles is “a nation that promotes integration rather than ethnic groups living side by side”, it is, therefore, fitting “to join with our fellow citizens to celebrate their traditions and culture, it is also a great occasion to say thank you to the outgoing Chinese ambassador”.
Most recently, China and Seychelles have enjoyed very good bilateral cooperation, which includes the construction of a digital forensic laboratory, the renovation of the Palais de Justice buildings, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation House project for its headquarters, the La Gogue Dam expansion as well as the upcoming donation of electric public buses for the SPTC.
Andre also highlighted the donation of Christmas decorations and “new games for Paradis des Enfants and support for the Chinese Association of Victoria and their projects, which will benefit the Seychellois community”.
On his part, the chairperson of the Chinese Association of Victoria, Robert Chong Seng, said that although the event was organised on a very short notice, it turned out well.
He also pointed out that the Chinese have “contributed to nation building, our cuisine, the way we live, the way we conduct business and many other factors”.
Three well-known people in Seychellois history with Chinese heritage are the country’s first president, President James Mancham, the first ordained Seychellois Catholic priest, Father James Chang-Tave, and the first Anglican bishop and Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, Archbishop Emeritus French Chang Him.