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Seychelles religion

Nine out of ten people who live in the Seychelles Islands is Roman Catholic
Nine out of ten people who live in the Seychelles Islands is Roman Catholic. This has been the case since the first survey of religious preference was made in 1992. The first white settlers in the islands were Roman Catholics, and the country has remained mostly Catholic despite efforts by the British to establish Protestantism in the 19th century. In earlier times, missionary schools were the most common, until 1944, when the government took over the schools. In the Seychelles, Sunday mass is well-attended, and Seychellois celebrate some religious holidays, so there is opportunity for committed Catholics to participate in their faith and faith-based social events. People who practice Catholicism who also speak French have a certain status as being associated with the white Seychelles settlers from France.

There are many religions in the Seychelles because there are many ethnicities and nationalities that have settled in the Seychelles Islands for many years. Most of the population are Creole, but there are also African, European, French, and Asians as well. Each group brings its own religion, and all are tolerated. The Seychellois respect every person's right to religious freedom. As stated earlier, some 90 percent of people in the Seychelles are Roman Catholic, and there are more Roman Catholic churches in the Seychelles than other churches. African and Asian non-Christian religions are also represented here.

Even though the population of the Seychelles comes from different regions and different religions, the country is still unified. Religion has not been a cause for divisiveness in the people in the Seychelles because freedom of religious belief is well respected here. This is advantageous, because the country is so demographically diverse that respect for all nationalities, ethnicities, and religions is a necessity to keep the country functioning smoothly. Many people of French origin stayed in the Seychelles after the French pioneers left the Seychelles, and since French are predominantly Roman Catholic, the Roman Catholic church has remained strong in the republic. Some of the Asian religions in the Seychelles include Buddhism, Hindu, and Islam. There are no restrictions on religious practice, and diverse beliefs are tolerated and respected.

Less than 10 percent of the Seychellois are Anglicans. Most of them came from families that were converted by British missionaries who arrived in the late nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. Protestant churches in the Seychelles are growing, including Pentacostals and Seventh Day Adventists. Approximately two percent of the population of the Seychelles are supporters of faiths that include Islam, Hindu, Baha'i, and Buddhism. There are mosques and Hindu temples on the island of Mahe. There is no restriction on religious practices by any faith, and all have tax-free status as granted by the government.

Though it is officially discouraged by clergy and lay people, there are Seychellois who do not put much distance between orthodox religious practicies and faith in magic, witchcraft, and sorcery. Not infrequently, people consult the local seer (bonom di bwa) for fortune telling or to obtain protective charms and amulets that are supposed to harm enemies.

Although Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in the Seychelles, there are Protestant and Anglican churches and places of worship for other denominations and other religions. The religions exist in harmony among Muslim, Hindu, Baha'i, Buddhist, and Christian communities on the three main islands of Praslin, Mahe, and La Digue.

To break down the religions by numbers, nearly 90 percent of Seychellois are Roman Catholic, and that is the main church in the predominantly Christian community. The Church of England (Anglicanism) includes another 7 percent of the population. Smaller religions like Baha'i, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hindus and Muslims make up the remaining population. The government does not restrict religious practice, so people can express their religious views without persecution.

Because of the different ethnicities in the Seychelles, the religions practiced are many and varied throughout the archipelago. Though most people are Roman Catholic, (90% as observed in a survey done in 1992), the British also tried to establish the Protestant religion, and there are some who have found their calling in that religion. The Muslims who live in the Seychelles Islands are allowed to participate in their ceremony of call to prayer on Fridays.

Only less than one in ten Seychellois are Anglicans, and most of them are from families that were converted to the Anglican church at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Evangelical protestant churches, however, are growing more active in the Seychelles. These include the Pentacostals and Seventh Day Adventists. Only about two percent of the Seychellois are members of other races, like Buddhism, Hindu, and Islam. There are mosques on Mahe. The government does not restrict religious practice.

The traditions of some of the ethnicities that live in the Seychelles have spilled over into their religious practices as well. These include belief in sorcery and witchcraft. The local bonhomme de bois, or seer, is frequently consulted for fortune telling and the acquisition of charms and amulets which are believed to bring harm to the enemies.

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