Population & Culture

“The Seychellois women are French enough to have beautiful shapes; English enough to have good manners; Asian enough to have the touch of the exotic, and African enough to have the wild in them!’

This beautiful eulogy of the Seychelloise woman is a reflection of the islands’ colorful blend: a true melting pot of different races with African, European and Asian origins, all of whom have brought their own customs and culture to the islands. From France came Roman Catholicism and, of course, the language; from Britain a variety of ghost stories and Scottish dancing; from Africa and Madagascar the mysterious black magic and the music and dance of the sega and moutia.

While the sega (a calypso-like rhythm with a shuffling, hipswaying dance) is also found on the other Indian Ocean Islands, the moutia is unique to the Seychelles – a dance seen by the colonial authorities as so sexually brazen that it was banned! The Moutia is much more African – usually played by the light of a beach bonfire. It is a primitive sounding beat played on a heated goatskin drum and helped along with large doses of bacca or calou – both locally brewed liqueurs made from sugar cane and coconut palm sap.

The broad range of the Creole cuisine is an eloquent reflection of the diverse ethnic mix of culture and races: this ranges from the subtleties nuances of French cooking and the exoticism of Indian dishes to the piquant flavors of the Orient.

Creole is the lingua franca of the islands, but most Seychellois will speak at least three languages fluently: Creole, English and French. The mother tongue is an adaptation of 17th Century French with additional words and expressions coming from African languages and from Madagascar. Anyone who can speak a little French will be able to largely understand Creole, which is simpler to learn, as there is no gender and the verb endings remain constant.

In general, the Seychellois are characterized by a laid-back, easy-go-lucky attitude.Many who have visited the islands have felt welcomed by the friendliness of this colorful race.

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