MASHRAMANI 2014 has been launched under the theme, “Cultural Folklore, Celebrating 44”. And with this in mind, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport has put a different twist on things this year, introducing a commemorative intelligence section to the usual social aspect of the celebrations.Mashramani, often abbreviated to “Mash”, celebrates Guyana’s becoming a Republic in 1970. The festival includes a parade, music, games and cooking, and is intended to commemorate Guyana’s attainment of Republican status.
There are spectacular costume competitions, float parades, masquerade band performances, and dancing in the streets to the accompaniment of steel pan music, calypsoes and soca renditions. Masqueraders frequent the streets, performing acrobatic dance routines in a vivid reminder of Guyana’s African heritage. Calypso competitions with their witty social commentaries are another integral part of “Mash” celebrations.
Mr Lennox Canterbury, in an interview with this publication, pointed out that the committee wanted differences in this year’s activities, and since there are a few aspects of our history going into extinction, it was decided to add a commemorative intelligence section to revive our history and educate the public.
He said all regions would have a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the day’s activities, and cultural programmes would enhance our knowledge of “Mash”.
A folk concert slated for February 6 at the National Cultural Centre would showcase the history and folklore of our ancestors, and a date has also been set to have a concert for the elderly, to bring to life past and present aspects of the celebration of Mash.
Professor Clem Seecharran from London would be conducting the Republic Lecture Series workshop on February 20 at the Umana Yana under the theme of ‘Developing and Understanding Cultural Industries’, as a way of earning with their skills and talents.
A Children’s art competition and an essay competition for secondary schools would focus on how children can contribute to the development of their country; and this would occur during the month of February.
Steelpan, calypso and chutney competitions, along with a children’s parade and a costume and float parade are all parts of the ongoing social aspect of Mash.
The first of these activities, the Chutney Finals, is being held at Bath Settlement in Region 5 on January 25.
Mashramani is a time when the oneness of the people of Guyana is distinctly on showcase as we celebrate our successes as a nation. This is also the time when our creativity is most ingenuously highlighted and it’s the effort of the committee to enhance those skills and talents to their optimum, in order to preserve our rich history.
This was fully adumbrated by Mr Lennox Canterbury.
(By Rebecca Ganesh-Ally)