Seychelles, the 115-islands country in the Indian Ocean, has a rich and vibrant culture reflecting the culture of the people of different nationalities who settled in the country over the centuries.
7. Social Beliefs And Customs
Gender differences do exist to a certain level in Seychelles. However, women still enjoy the freedom to pursue their career and attain economic freedom. Women also play a dominant role in most households and take the day-to-day decisions to run the family. Women hardly participate in fishing but are active in the plantation economy and the tourism industry of Seychelles. In the administrative field, women participation is 40% of that of men.
Most marriages are consensual unions and polygamy is not practiced. However, divorces are common and so are break-ups in co-inhabitation cases. Many children in the country are born out of wedlock. Race and social status often play a significant role in determining the choice of marriage partners. The size of the domestic unit in the country varies with class and most gran’bla families are nuclear in nature. Fostered children are common in the families of plantation workers who have a highly developed system of exchanging children among kin members. Both men and women equally inherit property by law.
The people of the island nation are often described as easygoing and laid-back. Seychellois seldom wear formals and prefer relaxed dress codes. Greetings are simple and compliments, especially about children are avoided to some extent due to the belief that it might invite misfortune.
6. Religion, Festivals, And Holidays
Christianity is the dominant religion in Seychelles. Around 76.2% of the country’s population are Roman Catholics and 10.6% are Protestants. 2.4% of the Seychellois practice Hinduism and 1.6% are adherents of Islam. June 18 is the National Day of Seychelles and June 5 is observed as the Liberation Day. The country celebrates the Independence Day on June 29. May 1 is observed as Labor Day. Christian holidays like Christmas, All Saints Day, and Immaculate Conception are also observed as public holidays.
5. Music And Dance
The relative isolation of Seychelles has resulted in the country having a distinct music scene. The folk music of the country is influenced by several genres of music originating from different countries across the globe. French pop and folk, pan-African genres of music, Indian music, Arcadian music, English polka, contredanse, etc., all influence the local music of the island nation. Several forms of combination music like Seggae (Sega and Reggae) and Mouggae (Moutya and Reggae) are popular here. Patrick Victor is a famous musician of the nation who developed the fusion music of Montea (fusion of Kenyan benga and indigenous folk music).
4. Literature And Arts
Oral literature in Seychelles features fables, songs, and proverbs that have been passed on over the generations by accomplished singers and storytellers of the country. Written literature in the Creole language has featured such fables and songs. However, other forms of literature in Creole are still lacking. Antoine Abel, a poet born in the country, is regarded as the father of Seychelles literature. His famous works include the Coco sec, Contes et poémes des Seychelles, and others.
The Seychellois are talented in the arts and craft and draw inspiration from the environment for their art. Impressive teakwood goblets, jewelry boxes, board games, coral and shell jewelry are the common crafts produced in the country. Batik-dyed cloth is also hugely popular.
The strategic location of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean and the country’s popularity as a tropical island holiday destination have influenced the cuisine of the country over the years. Thus, the cuisine of Seychelles reflects European, African, and Asian influences. Fish is a significant part of the country’s cuisine and spices like coriander, tamarind, ginger, and lemongrass are widely used. Rice, accompanied by seafood dishes, constitute the staple food of Seychelles. Several types of fish preparations are available here including baked, grilled, smoked, or steamed fish dishes. Coconut milk is used extravagantly to flavor dishes. Fresh flowers are often used to garnish food. Unique dishes of Seychelles include ladob, cassava pudding, fruit bat based dishes, shark chutney, etc. Fruit juices and coconut water are the most popular non-alcoholic beverages enjoyed in Seychelles. Palm wine, bakka rum are some of the traditional alcoholic drinks consumed in Seychelles. To cater to the multitude of tourists that flock to Seychelles every year, the country hosts a large number of multi-cuisine restaurants.
Clothing in Seychelles is suited to the warm, tropical weather. People prefer to wear loose-fitting garments and most Seychellois in the urban areas wear Western-style clothing. Occasionally, women wear African-style sarongs. Men wear loose-fitting shirts with short sleeves and long or short pants. Hats are worn by both men and women for sun protection.
The most popular sports in Seychelles are basketball and football. Volleyball, cycling, and other games are also played here on a professional level. The national football team of the country uses the 10,000 capacity strong Stade Linité stadium as the team’s home turf. Being an island nation, water sports like snorkeling, surfing, and swimming are also enjoyed by the people of Seychelles. The country also is known for having some of the world’s best dive sites.