From the Azura Benguerra Team - February 2018
Azura Day is a time honoured tradition that takes place in early December each year with our owners, staff and local community. It celebrates the life of Azura, gives thanks for all we have achieved, and prays for good fortune in the future. It begins with the local church choir arriving en masse in a succession of boats, singing all the way across the sea from the mainland. Beneath the shade of palm trees a church service is held, incense wafting on the breeze, to receive the blessing of the church for the year ahead. We finish with a wonderful feast, a big birthday cake and a party for all of the staff.
The following day it’s the turn of our community leaders and for the traditional beliefs of the island to be respected. The leaders of each community, in smart officer’s dress, assemble at the sacred tree behind the hotel, along with our overseas owners, our local partner Gabriel, their respective families, and some interested guests. A clapping begins to a slow rhythm, and everyone places their hands on the shoulder of the adjacent person, crouched or sitting in the grass beneath the tree. Various offerings are made to the spirits of the island, who seem to enjoy goat, beer, whisky and cigarettes! Essentially the goods that the islanders covet the most as signs of wealth, happiness and prosperity. The spirits are a very serious part of island life, and it's most important to show them the utmost respect.
This Azura Day was particularly special as it marked our 10th anniversary since the opening Azura Benguerra Island. For 20 of our staff members, who have been with us since day one and still work at Azura, it was extra special as they were presented with 10 year service pins made specially for the occasion, to mark their long service with Azura. Some 75% of our staff are from the island, and we are extremely proud and grateful to all of our loyal staff and the members of the community for what we are today. Long live Azura and Azura Day!