The cosmopolitan Seychellois are an interesting mixture of peoples of different races, cultures and religions. The History The Seychelles is shaped by the traditions and customs of people of African, European and Asian origin. They all contributed to the current lively lifestyle and culture of the Seychellois.
These influences can be clearly seen in the fields of local art, cuisine, music, dance and architecture.
The architecture of the old houses with their steep roofs reflects an architectural style for comfortable living typical of the tropics. Elements of the French and British colonial times can be found here. The modern architecture combines the traditional style with practical elements to capture the fresh sea breeze of the islands.
Local artists develop various styles that reflect the multi-ethnic background of the islands and bear witness to the many influences that have left their mark here. Creole music and dances have their roots in African, Malagasy and European cultures. The traditional rhythms are accompanied by simple drums and string instruments, including more recent imports such as violin and guitar.
The traditional Moutya is an erotic dance, whose origins go back to times of slavery, as well as the Sega with its descriptive texts, the Kanmtole, which reminds of a country reel, and the Kontredanse from the French court.
The Seychellois architecture is unmistakable in its style and at the same time practical in its construction. The influence from colonial times is evident, while at the same time the practical considerations are evident. The steep roofs protect from the rain, the wide terrace favours the island life, which takes place mostly outdoors, the overall construction is ideal to catch the constant cooling breeze.
Traditionally, the kitchens were built outdoors so that the strong smell of the spices did not draw into the living rooms.
Seychelles' colonial history is evident in the competition of wealthy land and plantation owners to build the most imposing access to their homes. This culminates in magnificent staircases on 4 sides of the buildings.
Normally houses were covered with palm leaves from the coconut plantations. However, practical reasons and prestige have replaced these with corrugated iron roofs, when corrugated iron was used on the Island became available.
Many of the smaller houses were built more or less in this style, the traditional wooden panelling was gradually replaced by concrete.
The Creole cuisine also reflects the unusual ethnic mix of the population. The subtleties of French cuisine, the exoticism of Indian dishes and spicy spices from the Orient combine to create a true culinary experience.
Grilled fish or squid, basted with a sauce of fresh chilli, ginger and garlic paste are a national favorite, as are the various delicious curries lovingly prepared with fresh coconut milk. Of particular interest are the chutneys, which are served as a side dish to the dishes. They are a hearty mixture of local fruits like papaya or golden apple and spices. As you would expect, the basics of the dishes are mainly seafood. Rice is usually served with them.
Painters and other artists have always been inspired by the natural, colourful beauty of the island. This has resulted in a wide variety of works, of different art styles such as printing and etching techniques, collages or object art, in which the most diverse means were used, such as watercolours, oil paints, acrylics, metals, aluminium, wood, textiles, lacquers, pastels or charcoal. Sculptors produce fine works of art from local wood, stone, bronze and cartonnage.
The Seychelles have always had a strong fascination and inspiration on local writers and poets. This has resulted in historical reports and fascinating works on the history of Company of these islands. The collection of short stories and poems, reflects the passion of these people.
Everywhere in the Seychelles you will find traditional handicrafts. Their work is as varied and diverse as the islands themselves. Objects are made from coconut shells or fibres, shells or coral, bamboo and metal, but also clothing, gold, silver and other jewellery or pottery can be found here.
Music and dances have always been an integral part of Seychellois culture and festivities are now unimaginable without them. As in other areas of culture, African, Malagasy and European influences have mixed, accompanied by tambour and tam-tam drums and simple stringed instruments. The violin and guitar are relatively new, European components that give today's music its distinctive touch.
The lively Sega with its elegant hip swings and almost shuffling foot movements is just as popular as the traditional Moutya, an erotic, mysterious-looking dance that dates back to the times of slaves. In those times it was considered a means of expression for strong emotions and an outlet for the misfortune of the people.
Dances of European origin are the Kontredance and the Kanmtole. The kanmtole reminds of a Scottish country reel and is accompanied by banjo, accordion, violin and triangle. The complicated steps of the Kontredance originate from the French court and are danced to the sounds of banjo and triangle, with the 'comander' "leading" the dance.
Various traditional dance groups perform at local festivals, but also modern interpreters of jazz, reggae, country & western, hip hop, ballads or rock. There are several choirs on the island, which inspire with their hymns and chorales.
Her repertoire, to name but a few, includes traditional sacred music as well as gospel or folk.
In the relatively recent history of the Seychelles, the folklore of the island was handed down orally before television, radio and writing became a medium.
Over the years, some mythical creatures have made a particularly strong appearance in Seychellois folklore. For example, there is "Soungula", which is known for its wisdom and inventiveness in dealing with everyday problems of life. Some other dazzling mythical creatures are Bro Zako, Kader, Tizan and Kousoupa.
Some of the most famous fables and stories that are still told today date back to the days when there was no television and storytelling was not just for entertainment, but to give people values and practical advice about life on the island.
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