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From laid back to buzzing with excitement - La Digue island celebrates the feast of the Assumption

La Digue, Seychelles | August 15, 2014, Friday @ 23:22 in National » GENERAL | By: Rassin Vannier and Joana Nicette | Views: 2707
From laid back to buzzing with excitement - La Digue island celebrates the feast of the Assumption

The procession started at the grotto heading down to Saint Mary’s Church for mass (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) 

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - On August 15 each year, La Digue, the Seychelles archipelago’s third most populated island attracts hundreds of visitors from different parts of the world, as it commemorates the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Patron Saint of the island.

Once again this year, hundreds of Roman Catholics from the main island of Mahé and the second most populated island of Praslin, made the one and a half hour trip by boat to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption with their fellow islanders on La Digue.

This time the procession on Friday August 15 which is a public holiday started at the grotto heading down to Saint Mary’s Church for mass which was celebrated by the Parish Priest along with the Head of the Catholic Diocese of Port Victoria, Bishop Denis Wiehe.

 

 

 

Roman Catholics from Seychelles three main islands were joined by visitors to the archipelago in the procession (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Many tourists were amongst the faithful who participated in the religious ceremony.

“We got married three weeks ago, and we are on our honeymoon on La Digue and as we are British Catholics, we wanted to see how Seychelles celebrate the feast of the Assumption,” Gary Nash told SNA.

For other visitors, being on La Digue for the occasion was merely a coincidence.

“We are touring the islands and it is by coincidence that we are here, on La Digue today. We are very interested in seeing how they celebrate the August 15 and are very happy that it is today. As we are believers of the faith, this has touched us very much,” said Caroline Lorenzati.

However, most of the faithful present were Seychellois nationals.

“This is the second time that I have come to participate in the celebrations on La Digue. I live on Praslin. I have come for the spiritual experience before i join the festivities of this afternoon,” Astride Brioche told SNA.

For those originating from La Digue but are working on Mahé this is the opportunity to visit home after a year being away.

 

As is the case each year August 15 is the time when La Digue welcome the most visitors with all accomodations fully booked way in advance (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Because of the popularity of the La Digue feast, those wishing to be there have to plan for the trip way ahead especially in terms of accommodation.

On the day itself it is practically impossible to find any accommodation on the island. La Digue has only 1034 bed capacity spread across some 80 tourism establishments.

Chez Babi, a small 12 bedroom hotel situated at La Passe, is fully booked since two weeks back.

“Those who were coming on August 15 had already booked their rooms six months in advance because if you wait until the last minute, it won’t be possible to find any vacant rooms,” Chez Babi’s owner Robert Labiche told SNA.

“August is the most important month for us tourism establishment operators on La Digue. We get visitors from all over the world. The island is really packed.”

Many activities are organized each year to commemorate the La Digue Feast.

 

 

After the religious ceremonies several activities are organised to entertain the public (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

In a bid to meet public expectations the organizers come up with new initiatives and for the first time this year there was a beach party for the youths.

“The La Digue Committee approached us and asked us to organize an activity for the youths, as the feast of La Digue is not just a religious event but also a celebration that demonstrate all the characteristics of La Digue," Justin Hoareau who has put together teh beach party explained to SNA, adding that those under 13 years of age have to be accompanied by their parents.

 

A beach party was also organised for the first time this year (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

With August 15 being a Friday this year the festivities on La Digue are set to go on the whole weekend before the island gets back its tranquillity and laid back way of life.

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Tags: La Digue, Feast of the Assumption, Roman Catholic

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