Christmas in Seychelles: "It's not just decorating your home but decorating your heart with love and positivity"

General |Author: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | December 24, 2023, Sunday @ 09:00| 6377 views

Acting Mayor of Victoria, Lydia Charlie, told SNA that the lights were installed in November. (Mario Monnaie)

While the Seychelles' capital Victoria is ready to welcome Christmas on Monday, December 25, there are mixed feelings among believers in the aftermath of two disasters that happened on December 7.

Since the beginning of December, the Christmas lights have been lit up and most shops are selling items linked to the festive season.

Acting Mayor of Victoria, Lydia Charlie, told SNA that the lights were installed in November.

"We began preparing early this year; especially with the setting up of lights, but people didn't notice because we only lit them up during an official ceremony on the 2 of December. We organised a Christmas fair that day and at night we had choirs singing as well as sweets and toys for kids," said Charlie.

Christmas fairs were organised during this festive season and the last one was held on Saturday, December 23. For the first time, there was a Christmas lights parade and other activities.

Since the beginning of December, the Christmas lights have been lit up. (Mario Monnaie) Photo License: CC-BY   

Charlie said that this year they also set up a donation box for the victims of the calamities that happened on December 7.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, suffered two major disasters that day. After several days of torrential rains, the northern region of the main island of Mahe suffered rock and landslides, along with flooding due to heavy rain in which three people died.

In a separate incident, in the east region of Mahe, in the Providence Industrial Estate, a massive explosion that originated from explosives stored at a local quarrying company, flattened large buildings, businesses, and residential houses in the vicinity.

Charlie said that some people may see these activities in a negative light, especially considering the incidents that have happened and the amount of people affected directly.

"However, we must do our best to uplift the morale of those affected. These activities are important, we have to be the light in these times of darkness," she explained. Charlie.

Bonne told SNA "It's ok for the moment, there are lots of decorations in town." (Mario Monnaie) Photo License: CC-BY    

Opinions on Christmas spirit this year

SNA spoke to several people on the festive season this year and opinions were varied.

Guyra Benoit said, "Compared to previous years the Christmas ambience this year is rather subdued, especially considering the events that have happened recently. The decorations in town though, I find them to be very nice."

Natifah Bonne told SNA "It's ok for the moment, there are lots of decorations in town. It's very festive."

Some people say there is too much consumerism and that the true meaning of Christmas needs to be more prominent.

"The religious spirit gone down a bit, most of us were happier to attend midnight Mass in our respective districts and the joy and charm of it as it is midnight. Now there is only one mass [at the Catheral of the] Immaculate Conception in town and it gets overcrowded," she added.

Amanda Denis said, "Christmas every year will depend on what we value important to each one of us. It will also depend on how the year has treated each one of us. Many of us have gone through hard times such as loss and this will affect our mood. A few more, job insecurity, bad relationships, sickness, separations."

She added that "Christmas is reminding us all despite our sufferings that there is hope, love, and many things to be grateful about. It is not easy though. So, this year I feel many people including myself will need to dig deep to find the Christmas spirit. We just need to change our focus."

For Crystal Julie, it is a sad Christmas for Seychelles this year and said more emphasis should be placed on religious activities instead of Christmas Bazaar and fancy fairs as "we are celebrating the birth of our Saviour after all."

Some people are facing a difficult time this festive season.

Noella Gappy said, "I felt the Christmas ambiance at the beginning of December because I started my decorations. Four days later I was hit by this terrible explosion and my house has been partly damaged. To me instead of celebrating Christmas with my family and on top of that, it's my birthday, I see a black Christmas coming my way. My children are no longer living with me as all their rooms have been totally damaged. I am in total depression and most probably my family will welcome my small family in their home for my birthday."

This was echoed by  Lymiah Bibi, who said that this year Christmas will not be the same with lives lost and people still in mourning.

"But we must live and go forward. Hope is our best gift right now. Reach out to someone in need this Christmas," said Bibi.

"For me, Christmas is about giving love, no matter the disasters, or the death of our loved ones, it's the love we share. For me, it's also a reminder of the love Christ has for me and my family and everyone. It's not just the decorating of your home but decorating your heart with love, and positivity. It's spending this Christmas with the ones that are still around and giving praise for another new day," said Hildre Boniface.

SNA brings you some Christmas decorations in the centre of the capital of Victoria. (Mario Monnaie) Photo License: CC-BY    

Tags: Mayor of Victoria, Christmas

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