FRANKFURT/MAIN, Germany – While temperatures during the traditional Rose Monday parades along the Rhine in late February 2012 are likely to be frosty, about fifty participants from Düsseldorf will be looking forward to the days ahead: they have been selected to travel to the Seychelles and join the 2nd “Carnaval International de Victoria” from March 2-4 as ambassadors of Rhenish Carnival.
This was made possible by the generous support from the Düsseldorf International Airport and Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of United Arab Emirates. The airline is about to establish direct flights from Düsseldorf to their home base in Abu Dhabi on December 16, 2011, where a link to the Seychelles has already been launched this November.
The Seychelles island nation in the Indian Ocean will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first carnival next year, which dates back to 1972, when even an actual Royal Highness (as opposed to the “mock royalty” customary in German carnival tradition) was present: HRH Princess Margaret, representing her sister, Queen Elizabeth II, the head-of-state of what used to be a British crown colony at the time.
The Seychelles has long gained their independence as a republic, and last year was the first time it celebrated its carnival in grand style on an international scale.
For this premiere, delegations from all over the world had found their way to the Seychelles capital of Victoria, from Brazil and the Caribbean via India and China, all the way to Russia and Hawai‘i. Only German carnival aficionados were missing, as the date clashed with an unusually late carnival season in Germany in 2011.
The year, 2012 does not present such conflicting schedules, as the season will already be over in Germany on Ash Wednesday, which will be in February. This gave the marketing department of Düsseldorf’s international airport an idea: as of December, the capital of the state of North-Rhine/Westphalia will have a new air link — courtesy of Etihad Airways — via Abu Dhabi to the Seychelles. After securing the support of the airline and of the Seychelles Tourist Office in Frankfurt, Jürgen Rieck, Manager of the organizing committee for Düsseldorf’s carnival festivities, was contacted. He suggested sponsoring a “Seychelles/Etihad Airways” float to be featured in the Rose Monday parade (telecast nationwide) and, in return, sending a delegation from Düsseldorf to the Seychelles — bringing the spirit of world-famous Rhenish jollity to the equally cheery Seychellois.
Costumes and caps will be packed for the trip, but the visitors from Düsseldorf may well leave their warm undergarments (a necessity during most German carnival parades) at home when visiting the World Carnival in this tropical destination, where temperatures usually average 30 °C.
And Victoria should get ready to practice Düsseldorf’s carnival salute: “Helau!“
Alain St.Ange welcomed the confirmation that Dusseldorf Carnival will be participating in the carnival parade in the Seychelles. “This is great news for the carnival of carnivals that is staged in Seychelles. The carnival in Dusseldorf is considered to be amongst one of the best in the list of world carnivals, and having them join the carnival in Seychelles is an honor. The list of participating countries is now already longer than the last carnival. We are working to make this event the true melting pot of cultures, and the confirmation by Germany stating that they will be part of this unique carnival in Seychelles sends the right message to the rest of the world.,” Alain St.Ange said.