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Seychelles on parade

By Mu Qian  (China Daily)

14:36, March 18, 2013

The Carnaval International de Victoria showcases Seychelles as a melting pot of cultures.(China Daily)

The group of islands in the Indian Ocean has become a popular destination for Chinese tourists, Mu Qian discovers, especially when it's carnival time.

When I texted "Happy Chinese New Year from Seychelles" to a friend in China, he asked me if Seychelles was the name of the compound I live in. I explained to him that it was a country in the Indian Ocean comprising more than 100 islands, some 1,500 km east of mainland Africa. The country's population of about 86,000 is actually smaller than some compounds in Beijing.

Spring Festival in Seychelles was an enjoyable experience, especially when the Carnaval International de Victoria was kicking off on Lunar New Year's Eve.

Billed as "carnival of carnivals", the Carnaval International de Victoria is one of the most exciting events in this otherwise placid country.

People crowded the streets to watch the parade of floats representing various Seychellois organizations and countries like Mauritius, Brazil, United Kingdom and China.

The majority of Seychellois are Creole people, principally of African and Malagasy origin. However, Seychellois also includes a mix of French, British, Indian and Chinese origins. James Mancham, the first president of Seychelles, from 1976 to 1977, is a descendant of a Chinese immigrant grandfather.

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