Experience an Easter destination vacation filled with a multitude of events coupled with a melting pot of Guyanese culture. Steeped in rich religious and traditional beliefs, Guyana’s Easter celebrations are unmatched in the Caribbean region.
Celebrations begin on Holy Thursday with the preparation of hot cross buns – a delectable roll with a cross etched upon its face, usually served with cheese and a swig of homemade ginger beer or mauby, a popular tree bark-based beverage. On Good Friday, consuming red meat is strictly forbidden. Instead, lots of local dishes are served – metagee, fufu or dhol with a side of fish.
For most religious people, the whole weekend is spent in Church. But there are also a lot of other events that make an exciting Easter time. From the annual kite flying tradition at #63 beach to the Bartica Regatta, North Pakaraima Mountain Safari and the Rupununi Rodeo, why not sample them all?
1. Easter Religious Practices and Traditions
After a forty-day period of fasting, praying and meditating, Easter celebrations begin in earnest on Good Friday. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus and Easter Sunday is the celebration of his resurrection. Typically, fervent Christians spend this time in church services all around Guyana. The St. George’s Cathedral, one of Guyana’s most prestigious wooden structures is famous for its services of reflection and remembrance during this time. St. Andrew’s Kirk, Brickdam Cathedral and the Church of the Nazarene also provide gentle reminders that Christians will one day join their Blessed Savior in Heaven. Easter egg hunts and kite flying events also play an integral part in celebrating a traditional Guyanese Easter.
2. The Bartica Regatta
What used to be a simple boat racing affair is now a conglomerate of activities that will bring the Easter weekend alive! Interested? You haven’t stopped reading yet, so of course you are. This year, it’s all about the switch up. The annual police Gymkhana, a police exhibition show, has been added to the festivities in addition to a new bird whistling competition. Come enjoy the highly anticipated water sports, dirt bike racing and the Miss Regatta Pageant. There’s even a boat cruise available for those that don’t want to stay too long, but really, why wouldn’t you? Bartica boasts beautiful terrain, landscapes and people. The regatta is just another opportunity to enjoy all that Guyana has to offer.
3. North Pakaraima Mountain Safari
If you’re a risk taker or just love to 4×4, this off-road expedition takes you on a rough trek through rocky mountains and dense forests. The 4X4 Pakaraima Mountain Safari takes pride in providing adventurers with an authentic, thrilling dose of exotic wildlife, lush landscapes and a peek into the uniqueness of the local culture. With the right vehicle, you will be well equipped to venture through the heart of Guyana’s hinterland. If you’re a birding enthusiast, you may get lucky and spot the very rare sun parakeet, scarlet ibis or even a magnificent harpy eagle! As your curiosity intensifies, why not set up a separate bird tour while you’re at it? And conveniently timed, the trek winds down just in time for the annual 2-day Rupununi Rodeo Celebrations.
4. The Rupununi Rodeo
The Rupununi Rodeo is a staple event for many Guyanese. This two day event captures the true essence of the indigenous lifestyle in the interior Savannahs. Be marvelled by the serene simplicity of the grasslands perfectly juxtaposed with the rough cowboy activities. Here, experienced cowboys, or vaqueros as they’re known locally, handle bulls as easily as they do their own hands. So, think of this as a 48 hour party filled with cultural innuendos – from the live folk music, cultural dances, and of course the traditional drinks. Their cassava beer, known locally as Parikari is one that they’re particularly proud of. The sweetness masks how strong it is, so be careful… you’ll need to be as sober as possible for other activities like steer roping, horse racing and even the thrilling barrel races. And what’s even better about this getaway is that the Rupununi ranching styles have minimal impact on the environment. It’s core values promotes sustainable tourism, something that Guyana is proud of. So after a thrilling Rodeo you are encouraged to stay on and leisurely explore the Rupununi and fall in love with our home.
5. Kite Flying Events
If you’re serious about kite flying, #63 beach is definitely where you’ll want to end the Easter holidays. Located in the tranquil county of Berbice, right next to the Suriname border, the drive from Georgetown will prove satisfying. On Easter Monday you will be marvelled by the creativity of Guyanese through the kite flying festivities. On the #63 beach, the magnetism of the atmosphere is amazing as you observe hoards of people swimming, picnicking and even jet skiing as they soak up the sun. Kites of all shapes, sizes and designs are the main attraction and the kite flying competitions are just as rampant. The competition is stiff, and you’ll see kites as big as cars or as tiny as someone’s fingers. Along the way, you might even notice people sitting on their rooftops or verandahs enjoying the creativity floating across the sky.
Guyana boasts a fresh approach to Easter celebrations with and without the sometimes mundane trappings of easter egg hunts. So consider taking a fresh approach to a traditional holiday and create memories in a unique destination.