If you have ever wondered what is religion like in Guyana, you have come to the right place because we’re about to fill you in. Guyana’s approximate 800,000 people adhere to one of three major religions: Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.
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While the Hindu community in Guyana perhaps observe and celebrate all sixteen days of Holi, the vast majority of Guyanese only celebrate Day 2 – the splashing of water and dabbing of colored power. In Guyana and neighboring Suriname, this is referred to as Phagwah.
Diwali, also called Deepavali, is one of the biggest and most auspicious festivals celebrated by Hindus in Guyana and around the world. The five-day long festival starts with Dhanteras and culminates with Bhai Dooj. Diwali marks the start of the Hindu New Year. The date of Diwali, which is determined by the position of the moon, changes each year, but usually falls somewhere between October and November.
Lighting Diyas is one of the practices of the five-day long Diwali Festival in Guyana – which also includes motorcades and other religious activities. The day on which the lighting of diyas take place is given as a national holiday in Guyana. The exact date on which diyas are lit depends on the sighting of the moon and varies slightly from year to year. This year, 2022, the day of lighting diyas is October, 24th.
The Diwali Motorcade is an annual tradition that takes place in the days leading up to Diwali. In addition to lighting diyas and spinning steelwool, mandirs across Guyana take part in a motorcade activity which is considered a prelude to Diwali. Some mandirs execute their motorcade activity several days before Diwali, while others do it on the evening before Diwali in Guyana, South America.