12 days of Christmas shopping dampened by election mood
Few shoppers doing their last minute shopping ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Jingle bells, busy streets, crowded shops. That’s what this time of the year normally brings for the Seychelles. With only two days left before Christmas, the atmosphere this year, though, is noticeably different.
The shops are less busy. The streets are anything but jam-packed. And the merry tunes of Christmas that normally resonate during the festive season are fairly absent on the streets of Victoria.
Is it Christmas-time election fatigue?
The island nation in the western Indian Ocean just ended the second round of the presidential election last weekend. President James Michel was elected to his third term with 50.15 percent of the vote. His opponent is contesting the result.
Despite a lack of shoppers – or maybe because of -- the shops in Victoria are stocked with toys, household appliances, perfumes and chocolate. Many shops have put out small stalls offering discount prices on some items.
|Merchants selling their products at discount prices. ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Even with Christmas so close, “there is no festive ambience,” said one sales assistant at a popular clothing shop who didn’t want her name to be used. “We are not selling much. … I think the election has played a role.”
Raja Malathi, the owner of an electronics shop, told SNA that her sale have been very low so far. She hopes last-minute buyers flood Victoria’s streets.
“Maybe starting today we might sell some products,” Malathi said. “We usually sell a lot of mobile phones, tablets every Christmas. … This year it’s not like that.”
Yvette Sifflore, a sales assistant at a children’s store, told SNA that people were not buying much during the pre-election period but there has been an uptick in demand for toys, clothes and school bags.
|A wide range of toys available for both boys and girls. ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
One Seychellois couple -- Stella and Patrick Payet -- told SNA that despite a slightly less festive mood this year, they still believe the significance of Christmas remains.
“We have seen a few gifts I like, but we are not impressed with the quality of gifts,” said Stella Payet. “We are seeking more educational gifts for children.”
Shirley Romain told SNA that only now that the election is over she can begin to think about Christmas.
“For the ones I am not able to get gifts for before Christmas day, I will buy theirs after Christmas and give them for the New Year,” said Romain.
|A variety of gifts available for adults as well. ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Merchant Ensel Moustache told SNA that although the meaning of Christmas has been blurred with the election he is convinced that in the next few days the Christmas spirit would triumph over Victoria.
The Seychellois is a very resilient nation, am sure we will adjust…and slowly we will recognize that it is Christmas time,” said Moustache.
|Browsing for the perfect Christmas card with a touching message. ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
|The atmosphere in Victoria three days before Christmas ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Christmas in Seychelles is celebrated by the majority of the 90,000 residents.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics about 76 percent of Seychelles’ residents are Roman Catholic; 6 percent are Anglican; nearly 2.5 percent are Hindu; 1.6 percent are Muslim; and nearly 14 percent are from other faiths.