After being celebrated for the first time last year, the second Seychelles-China Day which coincides with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival kicked off yesterday at the Eden Bleu Hotel.
The launch included an exhibition on China, performance by Chinese troupes ‘Shunde’ and ‘Chengdu’ as well as a cocktail. In a true spirit of cultural exchange, Chinese artists sung in Creole while the National Choir which is led by a Chinese director – Mrs Lownam, entertained the guests in Chinese. A Seychellois troupe, the ‘Lion Dancers’ had also welcomed the invitees with a show of Chinese art.
The ceremony was attended by President James Michel, former President James Mancham, acting Chief Justice Durai Karunakaran, government ministers, Chinese Ambassador Yin Lixian and other members of the diplomatic corps, members of the National Assembly, other government officials and a large part of the local Chinese community.
While launching the three-day long activity, the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange said that Seychelles-China Day was only a dream a little more than a year ago. He quoted President Michel whom he says has asked “to put the culture of the country at the heart of tourism development and to look at the people in order to sell the country”.
He reminded that the Chinese culture is part of our people and this is why the culture department decided to celebrate it among the five branches which make the Seychellois society.
Addressing the Chinese community, Minister St Ange assured them that the Seychelles’ government stands with them for them to be “as strong as ever and be the concerted group of people who work alongside the Seychellois community”.
He did not miss to remind the coincidence between the Seychelles-China Day and Valentine’s Day which is celebrated today.
He said with its red colour, the Seychelles-China Day offers the perfect occasion to buy and offer a Chinese gift for your loved one.
Minister St Ange ended by thanking the Chinese government for its collaboration and investment in the organisation of the event.
On her part, Ambassador Yin said although China and Seychelles are far apart, relations between the two countries have not stopped from becoming “closer and closer”.
“Long distance separates no good friends,” she philosophised.
Mrs Yin stressed that cultural exchange has played a major role in the development of these relations. She reminded that the Chinese settlers have contributed in the unique Seychellois culture with Chinese elements.
She was hopeful that Seychelles-China Day will continue to strengthen the cultural cooperation between Seychelles and China.
“Through those activities Seychellois will also learn about the Chinese culture and get to know about the latest developments in China. We hope that we can bring China Day to every household in Seychelles. We look forward to a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year,” she said.
On his part, the chairman of the Chinese Association of Seychelles Charlie Ng Ping said the Chinese tradition, especially its cuisine, is integrated in the Seychellois culture.
While thanking the governments of China and Seychelles for their support, he has expressed the wish that the next Seychelles-China Day be celebrated in the Chinese Pagoda currently under construction. He has once more called for donations towards the project.
The Seychelles-China Day celebrations continue today with a Chinese Bazaar at the National Cultural Centre. It will end tomorrow at 3pm with a show by the ‘Chengdu Artistic Group’ at the International Conference Centre (ICCS).
The accompanying photographs show the ambience at yesterday’s launch ceremony.