(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles Chinese community was joined by many enthusiasts of Chinese culture in a gathering on Saturday at the Natural History Museum to celebrate the beginning of the Chinese New Year.
The event was part of the 11th edition of the Seychelles-China Day held with the support of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts (SNICHA) and is one that allows Seychellois and visitors to experience the charm of Chinese culture and cuisine.
In her opening address, the new Chinese Ambassador to Seychelles, Lin Nan, said that this event is a window through which Seychelles people can better understand the Chinese culture.
The ambassador said, “It serves as a bridge that connects China, the Chinese community and local people with affinity and friendship. It is also a moment of reunion that the Chinese and Seychellois people join hands to create a better future with a stronger bond, mutual understanding and trust.”
She added “in a few days, we will celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year of the Dragon. In traditional Chinese culture, the dragon is a symbol of strength, wisdom and auspiciousness. Chinese Lunar New Year was given more significance when the United Nations set it as an official holiday recently. On this occasion, I would like to wish all friends a prosperous Year of Dragon.”
|One of the businesses at the bazaar, Melissa, was selling lucky charms. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
The principal secretary for culture, Cecile Kalebi, described the excellent relationship between Seychelles and China and highlighted several projects geared towards the arts and culture facilitated by the Chinese Embassy.
“As we reflect on the journey of our nation, this event also reminds us of the strong historical ties and friendship with China. The Culture Institute and the Chinese Embassy in Seychelles have a vibrant partnership and have collaborated on many projects that have deepened the cultural ties between our peoples.”
Kalebi added that “Last year key projects such as the dragon dance workshops, organised in collaboration with the Chinese Association of Seychelles, saw the training of our youths in the art of Lion and Dragon dances, donations of books to the National Library and participation of 14 staff of the Culture Institute in short term training programmes to enhance their skills and knowledge in the culture field was achieved.”
The dance was also performed in the Seychelles-China Day event in which Seychellois and visitors were present to see what was on offer and as has been the case in the past, Chinese food was on offer.
SNA spoke to some participants who turned up for the event.
Jovette Labrosse said, “There’s a lot on offer; a lot of food that I enjoy. I got myself some sushi and sesame balls. I’m used to the Asian culture, there are influences where I work and at home. I also watch Asian movies. I come to the bazaar every year, but this year I find it well organised and packed with more variety.”
Bella Henderson said, “Last year I passed by and it was so interesting, unfortunately, we were a little late so most things had run out. This year I made sure to come early and I’m happy I caught the official opening as well. I’m here for the food, the atmosphere is fun.”
|As has been the case in the past, Chinese food was on offer. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
One of the businesses at the bazaar, Melissa, was selling lucky charms, hair accessories and cushions with messages of good fortune and said “For the New Year you use lucky charms, it means the new year will be better.”
At one of the recurring stalls every year, the Confucius Institute displayed different items representing the culture of China such as traditional writing instruments and paper lanterns.
One of the Seychellois students, who is learning Mandarin from the institute, Shanaya Talma, also participated in the official opening with other students and performed one of the traditional martial arts of China – Tai Chi.
“We just wanted to show what we do at the Confucius Institute. I saw an advert on TV advertising the Mandarin classes and I took it as an opportunity, especially since I’ve always loved the culture,” said Talma.
The Chinese Embassy also had a stall displaying small handmade bags made with Chinese silk, pictures showing different places in China, and other Items.
The Chinese Spring Festival, which marks the passing of the Chinese New Year, is one of China’s most important holiday periods of the year, seeing a colourful cacophony of celebrations in China and places containing Chinese populations worldwide.