La Digue Festival celebrations to continue into the weekend | 16 August 2019
The La Digue Festival, organised annually to commemorate the Feast of the Assumption on August 15, is one of the most anticipated annual events with hundreds flocking to the beautiful isle of La Digue for the celebrations.
This year is no different with a jam-packed calendar featuring traditional religious activities and a whole host of sporting activities and musical entertainment that kept locals and tourists excited.
The programme, put together by the Creative Industries and National Events Agency (Cinea) officially commenced on Wednesday August 14 with a local-produce market whereby vendors and farmers on La Digue had on offer an array of colourful fruits and vegetables among other local produce. A disc-jockey (DJ) was also present to get the crowds grooving to classic hits before the official opening ceremony of the festival at 7pm.
As expected, the opening featured speeches by the district administrator followed by a blessing by a Priest. The young ones from La Digue put on a singing and dance performance before the stage was handed over to La Digue native Despilly Williams and Zodiac Band to conclude the opening at 9pm.
For those who considered 9pm too early to call it a night, a two-hour gospel show provided festival-goers with the perfect opportunity to hear and be inspired by artists sharing the message of the Gospel, and their positive perspective of life in song form, ahead of the traditional procession and mass to be held the following morning (yesterday).
Wednesday evening concluded with DJ entertainment until the early hours of the morning while festival-goers enjoyed the delicious local cuisine and refreshments on offer at the stalls set up around little corners of the island.
Yesterday, August 15 itself, the Feast of the Assumption, the day’s events commenced with the customary religious celebrations including an open-air mass, traditional procession and mass at St Mary’s Church in the morning.
A large number of Catholic faithfuls and visitors did not miss out to participate in the religious procession from the grotto all the way to the church.
Bishop Denis Wiehe presided over the mass alongside other priests from Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue and even from France.
Speaking to La Digue resident Jude Dogley, Seychelles NATION learned that the celebrations also mark an opportunity for many Diguois who are residing on Mahé and Praslin to visit their families and even put some flowers at the tombstones of their loves ones who have passed away.
“Right now families are hanging out with each other, having fun and cooking together. Those who no longer live on La Digue make it a point to visit their families and neighbours,” Mr Dogley explained.
He noted that take-aways and food vendors were extremely busy with locals and visitors alike who were enthusiastic to taste local and traditional food and delicacies.
Also observed was the large presence of police officers to ensure safety and security during the celebrations particularly at La Passe, the centre for most activities.
There were also some sightings of lifeguards around the island.
“The atmosphere on La Digue is fantastic,” Antoine Decommarmond noted.
“The weather is great, people came all out for the procession. It’s really great.”
Local vendors were present throughout the day with a delightful variety of products on sale. Numerous cultural and sporting activities were scheduled for the afternoon between 1pm and 5pm, a good opportunity for all the family to get involved in a display of competitive spirit.
Sporting activities included a ‘catch-the-duck’ competition for competitors aged 12 and above, slowest bike competitions, catching eggs competitions, tug of war, poto lagres with an impressive prize offering of R3000, plis koko competition and an open water swimming event for different age categories.
Yesterday evening concluded with musical entertainment and animation by Zodiac Band, a Miss 15th August pageant and spectacular performance by the great Norvil Ernesta.
Today’s programme (Friday) is not as eventful as the previous days but for the many who are staying on the island through the weekend, there are still things to see, do and enjoy.
The Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) will be providing entertainment throughout the day through to 8pm where Band Zodiac will take to the stage to make the sounds of sega and other genres of Creole hits echo.
Friday night promises to be fun-filled as there is also the La Digue Summer Fest Show taking place at Anse Calice to keep festival-goers in the mood.
As for the final two days of the festival, tomorrow and Sunday, a range of activities to suit all ages have been organised. Tomorrow, August 17, will consist of a fishing competition for local enthusiasts, the La Digue Challenge with various other sporting activities taking place throughout the day. For those who missed out on yesterday’s sports activities, tomorrow’s programme provides them an opportunity to enjoy watching or participating in beach volleyball and tests of their strength among others.
SBC entertainment is scheduled between 6pm to 8pm where renowned local artists and comedian Joseph Sinon will deliver his well-known hits accompanied by the Zodiac Band.
Activities for the final day of the festival, Sunday 18, will commence in the afternoon with a tricycle race, beach volleyball and the continuation of poto lagres before a moutya session and sega competition to conclude the festival until next year’s edition.
The accompanying photographs show some highlights of the festival.