For some Mashramani is the celebration after hard work, for others it's the coming together of the six races to celebrate as one people, and still for others it's a time of reflecting, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
Mashramani is an Amerindian word which means 'celebration after hard work'. This year it took on a different meaning, Mashramani meant coming together and carrying on in euphoria despite the recent tragedies affecting Guyana and its people. These tragedies threatened the success of this year's activity but Guyanese pressed on and came together to make this years celebration as enjoyable as past years.
Though not as big as previous years and lacking the participation of some big bands, the revellers took to the streets, gyrating to both local and international soca songs, in their creative and colourful costumes they showed the true spirit of Guyanese, a kind people, a hospitable people, a people that would stand together no matter what. The bands were few but the hype and excitement that came with the revellers spoke volumes.
The bands and revellers weren't the only ones contributing to the Mash spirit, the spectators both young and old, from all backgrounds and ethnicities added to the festivities. Either dressed in their traditional colours, carrying their flags high, picnicking with family and friends, or simply gyrating to the music, Guyanese were out in their numbers and enjoying every minute of it.
Mashramani is considered one of the most colourful festivals on the Guyanese calendar, this year proved no different. The Church, Digicel's 'Odyssey', Concept Entertainment's 'Nature's Way', the Ministries of Health, Education, Culture Youth and Sport, among other organizations all helped in creating colour and excitement and celebrating togetherness.
The beauty of Guyana was highlighted by many of these bands through the festive costumes wore by revellers, the ease in which they came together and celebrated despite the hiccups in the country; this signals the strength evident in all Guyanese and the hope that things will return to normalcy. GT&T did not participate but remained patriotic by sponsoring a section of the Body of Christ's Band. Other local businesses and organizations pitched in and assisted in one way or the other in making Mash 2008 the success it was.
Guyanese did not fail to showcase the beauty of their country and their personality as a people, despite the mayhem in the country; they celebrated together as a people and as a country willing to move forward.
The event was pure Guyanese, according to Adrian Dutchin "100% Guyanese from my head straight down to my toes". Adrian Dutchin and many of our Guyanese artistes, as they prefer to be called, were out and about with the bands and revelers. Shelly G, Vanilla, Jumo, Malo and others were there to support and to add to the festivities. The artistes were not only present but their songs were played throughout the mash procession.
The celebrations ended earlier this year than past years, owning to the situation in the country many persons were afraid to stay out of their homes too late and added to that Guyana was playing in the semi- final position in the Stanford 20/20 competition so persons were eager to go home early. Cricket a Guyanese thing!
Not the youngsters though, the usual after mash lime which is usually from Texaco Service Station to Popeye's on Vlissengen Road was in full swing. Persons were still in the mash spirit gyrating and carrying on to the music being played. For Guyanese a party is a party regardless of the negativities surrounding certain issues. The number of persons out was not as much as previous years but persons were out nonetheless. Those who weren't chatting with friends or 'wining' to the music being played were glowed to the portable television in a car in front of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) showing the 20/20 match between Guyana and Jamaica.
The night wasn't done there. The club going 'passe' was having a ball in either Blue Iguana who had Caribbean artistes Denise Belfon and Peter Ram or the Tunnel who simply had a soca party. Guyanese needed an avenue to collect themselves and reconnect with society and Mash did this for them. It allowed them to have a good time without thinking about the situation in the country; to go out with family and friends and to enjoy our culture as one people.
Mashramani was not only a celebration after hard work but it was a celebration of unity and togetherness for the Guyanese people in a time when they needed it most. The day set aside to honour our Republic and our culture was well received and supported. And it was indeed 100% a Guyanese thing.
By - Schemel Patrick
Concept Entertainment is indeed providing an alternative this Mashramani. The promotional team boasts of their intention to offer Guyanese people diverse ways of experiencing entertainment opportunities.
Their first venture, Nature's Way is a mash band designed to celebrate the natural beauty of Guyana backed by noteworthy names in the Caribbean design fraternity; Sonia Noel; celebrated Guyanese fashion designer, Betty West, outstanding Barbadian fashion and costume designer and Richard Young, renowned regional fashion consultant and production designer. The team is off to a great start.
The management team headed by Ghalee Khan, Denise Thompson and Capucine Phillips, with creative consultancy from Clive Prowell proves to be a formidable force for this year's Mashramani.
The is comprised of seven sections; three exclusively female and four where both male and female can mash exuberantly come February 23RD. Intent on maintaining the challenge "The Alternative", the band is causing individuals for the section "Spirits of Nature". All persons wishing to experience this evolution for Mash Day can visit the office at the corner of Camp and Middle Streets or call 664-8580 to register. All it cost is your enthusiasm and Spiritedness, creativity and willingness to celebrate Guyanese beauty.
Depicts the verdant forest inter-spliced by the many waterways of the Kaieteur Falls.
Reminds us of the spectacular view of the sun setting on the Demerara.
Pays homage to the preciousgold found in one's journey to the interior up Essequibo.
Is a testament to the plethora of birds which nest in the forest of the Rupununi.
Its a tribute to the feline specie exalting the superior cat, the Jaguar.
Represents the mystery and fascination with the expansive fauna exemplified in the snake.
Bespeaks the complete beauty and consummate freedom of the butterfly which abound among the flora. And whose survival is carefree and simply natural.