The Origin of Mashramani
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One of the most popular and colourful of all festivals, the Mashramani festival is observed in Guyana on 23 February – Guyana’s Republic Day – to commemorate the birth of the Republic. The word Mashramani is derived from the Arawak indigenous language and in translation means “the celebration of a job well done”. It refers to a special event which brings people together after some enterprise.
As a national holiday, Mashramani is celebrated in a semi-official way in all ten regions of Guyana with flag-raising ceremonies or sporting events. The biggest celebration usually takes place in or around the Guyana’s capital Georgetown, where spectacular costume competitions, float parades, masquerade bands and dancing in the streets to the accompaniment of steel band music and calypsos, take place.
Masquerades frequent the streets performing dance routines, a reminder of Guyana’s African heritage. Calypso and Chutney singing competitions with their witty social commentaries are another integral part of the festival and this culminates in the coronation of a King or Queen.
The Jaycees of Linden had, since Guyana became independent in 1966, been organizing an independent carnival in Mackenzie. When Guyana became republic in February 1970, the formed Jaycees Republic Celebrations Committee
Basil Butcher was selected as chairman but due to his being selected to tour Australia with the West Indies cricket team, Jim Blackman was appointed as the Deputy to carry on. A broad based committee including resource personnel such as Wordsworth McAndrew, Arthur Seymour and Adrian Thompson, began the organization of the carnival activities.
The search for a name to replace carnival began and it was suggested by Basil Butcher that an Amerindian name be chosen.
This was agreed and several individuals including Mr. Allan Fieldlow, an Amerindian, were contacted.  Mr. Fieldlow had discussions with his grandfather who described a type of festival that was held by Amerindians whenever they gather to celebrate a special event.
The event he said was like “Muster Many” (or Mashirimehi in Amerindian) and sounded in Arawak like Mashramani.Steps were taken to confirm this. Adrian Thompson concluded that since no one could have confirmed or denied that the Arawak word for festival was Mashramani then the festival would be called Mashramani.
On February 23, 1970, the festival called Mashramani was a huge success with people drawn from all regions of Guyana to Linden welcoming Guyana’s status as a Republic with over three days of frolic and fun.
After witnessing the massive crowds, and the glitter and level of competition, Mr. David Singh, a Government Official, held discussions with the Jaycees Committee about bringing the event to Georgetown, the nation’s capital.
Approval was also given by then President Forbes Burnham for Mash to be a National event for the Republic Celebration. 
Mash activities were rotated in Linden, Berbice and Georgetown but due to sponsorship, the Costume band contest remained in Georgetown.

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