Mashramani needs to remain relevant 

─ we need to promote our culture and tradition – Mash coordinator

─ Mashramani is unique and should be treated that way 

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of Social Cohesion is urging the public to promote Mashramani, as it about the Guyanese’s culture and tradition.

During a press conference, on Monday, at the National Racquet Centre, Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton said that activities such as J’ouvert and wet fete seem to attract large volumes of citizens leading up to the country’s Republic Anniversary celebrations, but they are more party-driven and do not represent the true meaning of the country’s Mashramani celebrations.

“We have our form of music; our form of dance and a wet fete is something that you are seeing all across the world and so for us to make every effort to isolate our community or our cultural activity from that might not be in our best interest… but it is not something that we are encouraging. We prefer to move away from this whole terminology of J’ouvert,” the minister said.

He reiterated the ministry allows organisers, who directly deal with them to explain their reasons for hosting these activities and it is something that they will not stop.

Mash Coordinator, Andrew Tyndall said that the world has become a global village and as such when citizens view such events, they wish to replicate, however, Mashramani is unique and should be treated that way.

“Mashramani is different, it celebrates our culture, it celebrates our tradition which caters for all sectors of society and we need to make Mashramani relevant. The onus is on every Guyanese to make Mashramani relevant. So, Mashramani will remain relevant as long as we, Guyanese keep it relevant,” Tyndall explained.

He noted that the general public wants to adopt these traditions simply because they are owned and promoted by their respective countries and every Guyanese need to do the same for their own cultural and national events.

“We have been improving this holiday [Mashramani] and so, the general public has to buy into it, they have to promote it and celebrate it as something uniquely Guyanese. The ministry along with the general public would determine how relevant Mashramani continues to remain in the face of these new activities,” the Mash Coordinator said.

Mashramani is derived from an Indigenous Peoples’ language meaning “celebration after cooperative work”. It is an annual festival that celebrates Guyana’s Republican status, achieved in 1970. The highlight of the celebrations is a colourful float parade and revellers jiving to the sound of different genres of music, among them Soca, Calypso and Chutney.

Neola Damon.

Images: Department of Public Information.