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Mashramani in Guyana – Celebrating the Republic

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Published: 23rd of February, 2023 by Patrick Carpen.

Last updated: February 23, 2023 at 18:21 pm

On February, 23, 2023, Guyana celebrates 53 years as a Republic. Republic Day is usually celebrated with Mash Parades which is similar to the Carnival Event of Trinidad and Tobago. “Mash Parade” is derived from the word Mashramani – which is an indigenous word meaning, “celebration after hard work.”

On May 26, 1966, British Guiana was changed to Guyana, and on February 23, 1970, Guyana was changed to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Travel documents such as passports reflect these changes.

The Mashramani festival in Guyana takes place every year on the 23rd of February and is intended to celebrate Guyana’s becoming a Republic. Guyana was declared a Republic on the 23rd of February, 1970.

Republic Day and Mashramani go hand in hand on the 23rd of February, and the day, which may be called Republic Day or Mashramani, is one of Guyana’s national holidays. On this day, all businesses, schools, government offices, etc are expected to be closed for the celebration of the holiday.

Mashramani celebrations take place on the main roads of cities all across the country. Representatives of schools, businesses, and other organizations dress in costumes depicting various themes and carry banners and floats which depict themes the groups are representing. Loud music is carried on vehicles and the partakers of the celebrations dance their way from the starting point to another point such as a community center ground where they will explain the meaning and themes of their costumes and floats.

A panel of judges will listen to and look at the performers of each group, assess the merit of their stories, their dance, their costume, their themes etc, and give them a ranking of first to fifth or sixth place (depending on how many groups there are).

After that there will be celebrations, drinking, and merriment for the rest of the day and into the night.

Photos by Amanda Richards

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