February 23, 2012 - Mashramani in Guyana

Mashramani (Mash for short) is Guyana's patriotic holiday that commemorates the day that it became a republic in 1970. There are parades, music, games, and cooking—the most colorful festival of the year—with floats, masquerade bands, and dancing in the streets, elaborate costumes, calypso competitions, and the crowning of a Mash king or queen.

Guyana is one of the smallest nations in South America. Its official language is English, although it was a Dutch colony before it was taken over by Britain, and the largest group of people living in the nation are descendents of immigrants from India! Other Guyanese groups include descendents of the following groups: enslaved Africans, Amerindians (the peoples who lived in the area before the coming of Columbus) such as Arawaks and Caribs, Portuguese and other European settlers, and Chinese immigrants. With all this ethnic diversity, it is perhaps not a surprise that Caribbean languages, Spanish, and Portuguese are spoken by small minorities; but I was surprised to read that a national language called Guyanese Creole is widely spoken.

A creole language is a stable language that is created by the mixing of two or more parent languages. Scholars who study languages (linguists) tell us that a creole language is created by children in mixed-language locations, just naturally as they play together and try to communicate with each other. A creole language can become the primary language for many people.

Guyanese Creole is based on English with African and East Indian syntax (grammar).

Explore Guyana

Here is a super-short tourism video of Guyana. 

This five-minute video is much more informative. 

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