The indigenous presence in Guyana has had a significant impact on our culture, and, by extension, our national identity and social existence. Mashramani, a national celebration, is one such defining contribution. Mashramani is an Arawak word meaning celebrations after the successful completion of hard work. It rings true now more than ever as Guyanese of all backgrounds gear up to celebrate yet another year of cooperative nation-building. This year is different though. It will mark 50 years since the Birth of the Republic on February 23, 1970 when Guyana declared its move from “Guyana” to the “Cooperative Republic of Guyana.”
Mashramani, popularly referred to as Mash, has evolved into an annual national cultural event. Under the theme Guyana Together: Reflect, Celebrate and Transform, this year’s Republic Jubilee celebrates how far we have come as a nation over the past 50 years. This theme honors the past decade of development, future plans and our country’s progress towards becoming a Green State.
Experience Vibrant, Multicultural Activities
A packed calendar of events highlights the significance of this milestone. These events encompass all aspects of Guyana as a cultural melting pot, which further promotes the Mashramani celebrations as non-partisan. They belong to all Guyanese. This is especially evident through 50 Days of Prayer. This is a chance for all religious denominations to take some time to pray for continued peace and unity.
What’s Mashramani without exhilarating steel pan competitions, and the sweet, exciting music emanating from the soca, calypso and chutney monarch competitions? This is the essence of Guyanese entertainment that places emphasis on our authenticity and creativity.
The annual art exhibitions held at the Castellani House are highly anticipated during the Mashramani celebrations. These displays are rooted in some of Guyana’s most thought-provoking historical events. Each year, the exhibition focuses on a different aspect of Guyana’s Republic status. Expect paintings, sculptures and other means of artistic expressions that are bursting with life. Film and literary festivals are also a part of Mashramani.
Schools all across Guyana take part in the annual Children’s Mashramani Competition. Students showcase their talents in costume and float parades, dance, music, dramatic poetry and, of course, masquerade presentations. These activities foster mutual respect and understanding and provide opportunities to learn even more about Guyana’s rich, diverse history in a fun, educational way.
The Flag Raising Ceremony, held every year on February 22, features cultural presentations that celebrate the Guyanese people, our way of life and our national pride. You will be treated to a military-style parade. The highlight of the evening for many is the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead on the 180-foot flagpole at midnight, followed by a fireworks display hosted by the Guyana Defence Force. This memorable moment allows us as Guyanese to appreciate each other’s culture and differences as we come together to reflect upon all that we have achieved through unity and diversity.
The Mashramani Float Parade
Arguably the most anticipated event of the entire line-up is the Mashramani float parade on February 23rd. Mash bands, filled with excited revellers, will captivate you with their vibrant colours, and flamboyant, yet culturally appropriate designs. You will notice a recurring theme and icon – the headdress, which is a symbolic representation of our indigenous peoples and the contribution they’ve made to our culture. This highly anticipated display of creativity is undoubtedly the highlight of the festivities. This is evidenced by the thousands of patrons who gather along the parade route to enjoy the exuberant costumes and loud music, and relish the cheerful laughter and high energy.
This is one of the most festive times to be in Guyana. For those visiting, the lure extends beyond the frolicking and festivities. You can enjoy Guyana’s rich and unique cultural fusion at activities leading up to (or after) the Mashramani festivities. For a full list of all the exciting activities leading up to and on Mash day, click here.
Travel Better in Guyana
In Guyana, we recognize we have a responsibility to protect and conserve our spectacular natural and cultural treasures. We’re equally blessed that so many of our visitors want to lend a hand in doing so. To find out what you can do to help, please check out our Visitor Guidelines For Sustainable Travel. We look forward to welcoming you to Guyana.