Seychelles - Lifestyle & culture
A laid back, matriarchal society, the Seychelles is a colourful melting pot of traditions and cultures.
Influenced throughout history by African, European and Asian customs, this can be seen throughout the art, music, dance, architecture, food, drink and festivities held throughout the year.
Religion is a big part of Seychellois culture, which can be seen in the various festivals throughout the year. Although the main religion here is Roman Catholicism, there are many other Christian denominations such as Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Orthodox Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses. Alongside this there are a number of other religions present, including Hinduism and Islam.
Although religious beliefs are extremely strong in the Seychelles, most still believe in witchcraft. Due to this, Shaman are regularly consulted when it comes to supernatural guidance for everyday problems.
Art and architecture
The importance of art and architecture can be felt throughout the Seychelles, and are heavily influenced by the cultures that have passed through this part of the world.
With many painters, sculptors, writers, poets, musicians and dancers in this relatively small country, the art scene is surprisingly large. Whilst roaming the streets the type of art you’ll see will encompass everything from oils and acrylics to aluminium, charcoal, recycled materials and sculptures on wood, bronze and stone. The various poems and short stories give travellers further insight into the way of local life.
It’s also not uncommon to hear local music play throughout the Seychelles. African, European and Malagasy influences are evident through the use of string instruments and drums like the tam-tam and the tambour, and more recently the violin and guitar.
The architecture across every island of the Seychelles has a distinctive style and practicality to its design. With clear influences from the colonial past, these sit next to steep roofs and wide verandas, to help locals make the most of the beautiful climate.
Food and drink
The food and drink share a blend of different world influences from French and Indian to more orient flavours. Due to the closeness to the water, fish and other seafood’s like octopus and lobster are a staple within many dishes, alongside vegetables such as aubergines, papaya and avocados. Chicken, beef and pork are also used in a number of dishes too.
Some of the island’s more popular dishes include chicken curry and coconut milk, grilled fish or octopus with crushed chillies, ginger and garlic, shark chutney and ladob; a dish consisting of ripe plantain and sweet potatoes. Fresh fruits are also consumed regularly here, such as mango, pineapple, limes and melon.
In terms of drinks, fresh juices are often consumed. When it comes to alcohol a local favourite is palm wine; fermented sap tapped from coconut palm fronds.
There are also an abundance of recreational activities that Seychellois people take part in such as shopping and sports.
Sport is quite popular here, with both male and female volleyball being a particular favourite, with many professional players taking part at an international level. Football is another popular activity on the islands, so you don’t have to worry about missing it on your holiday.
Shopping here is a unique experience in itself, with many places selling traditional island crafts such as pottery, paintings and jewellery. However, Victoria plays home to the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, which provides amazing shopping opportunities. Pick up an array of souvenirs, spices, crafts and ornaments, alongside many other wonderful and interesting things. The market is at its busiest on Saturday mornings, and shuts Saturday afternoon and on Sundays.
Although not renowned for its nightlife, there are a few great places to check out whilst on holiday. Club Lovenut in Victoria is popular with many of the island’s younger generation and hosts many international DJs, whereas Mahé plays home to the popular Tequila Boom, which has frequent theme nights. When in Praslin make sure you check out The Jungle and The Dome, and the island’s only casino on the Cote d’Or; Casino des Iles.