Republic Day in Guyana
Guyana annually celebrates Mashramani on February 23. The festival celebrates Republic Day, the day when Guyana officially became a republic in 1970.
Guyana became independent from the United Kingdom in 1966. An annual festival was organized in Linden, the second largest city after the capital, by members of a civic organization the United States Junior Chamber (or Jaycees). When Guyana adopted a status of republic, the Jaycees created Jaycees Republic Celebrations Committee. They started to look for an appropriate name for celebration and came up with the word Mashramani, that was Arawak word for Mashirimehi. This word would explain the type of festival, that was held by Amerindians whenever they gathered to celebrate a special event.
The first celebration of Mashramani was very successful, that is why the festival was introduced in the national capital, in Georgetown. President Forbes Burnham approved it and Republic Day became a national holiday.
Mashramani is the largest event in Guyana. People travel to Georgetown, Linden and Berbice to participate the greatest celebrations. Annual costume parade is held in Georgetown. The festival starts before dawn and peaks a few hours after sunrise.