🇬🇾 Mashramani Carnival

Mashramani or Mash for short is the name given to Guyana’s carnival, which not only celebrates this date but also commemorates the day the South American country became a Republic.

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    When is Mashramani Carnival 2023?

    Mashrami Day, or Mash can literally be translated as ‘celebrating a job well done”. Mash commemorates the day when Guyana became a Republic, back on February 23, 1970. So, every year on this day the Guyanese throw the most wonderful carnival to celebrate their independence!

    When is the 2023 Mashrami Day Carnival held? The carnival fun will begin before dawn and last until sunrise the next day. Mashrami Carnival 2023 takes place from February 23 to February 24, 2023.

    Where is the Mashramani Carnival?

    mashramani carnival

    Georgetown, capital of Guyana, is the city that gathers the largest number of visitors for this special and memorable date. Carnival activities take place from Vlissingen and Irving Streets to Penang National Park.

    What is the Mashramani Carnival?

    mashramani carnival

    The Mashramani Carnival is a date that commemorates the fact that Guyana has become a Republic, so it is a celebration of great importance for this South American country.

    February 23rd is considered the day of the “Birth of the Republic“, because since 1970 the history of the country has changed completely and this is one of the few dates where all Guyanese ethnic groups gather and the streets are full of color, joy and great sharing.

    In Mashramani there are parades of floats, costume contests and dances in the streets accompanied by steel band music and calypso, a melody that cannot be missed on a date like this one.

    How is carnival in Mashramani celebrated?

    mashramani carnival

    The Guyanese carnival begins with the celebration of J’ouvert, which takes place one night before and is similar to the day of the festival, as people dress up and dance to the rhythm of calypso and soca in the streets of the different cities.

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    The J’ouvert does not belong to Guyana, as this celebration is held in many Caribbean islands and in areas where Caribbean people have migrated over the years.

    In Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada they celebrate the J’ouvert by smearing paint, mud or oil on the participants, who are called “Jab Jabs”.

    The largest attendance for this date is in Georgetown, the activities take place between Vlissingen and Irving Streets to Penang National Park, where calypso and soca are heard at all times and not only the joy of the residents but also of tourists interested in knowing how Guyanese live the Mashramani.

    Each year a different theme is chosen, for 2021 the chosen theme is “Celebrate Mash 50 with victory in mind”, as Guyana celebrates its 50th anniversary of becoming a Republic.

    Among the countless activities that make up the Mashramani are: steel pan contest, children’s competitions, street parades, intellectual contests, art exhibitions at the Castellani House and various conferences on the occasion of the date.

    The Mashramani carnival closes with the “parade of the bands”, which attracts thousands of people who accompany the route that is planned to be carried out.

    There is no doubt that this celebration is of great importance for Guyanese, as the creativity and joy are evident in the fancy dress costumes that local artists create months before the festival.

    Each of the costumes has the stamp of the culture, history and traditions of Guyana, because its residents do not forget their roots and are proud to belong to this South American country, which has a very interesting past. Do you know it?

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    Where to stay in Mashramani?

    Georgetown has no shortage of accommodation options that suit all budgets and levels of comfort. If you are looking for accommodation close to Mash than here are some good options:

    • Herdmanston Lodge
    • Guyana Marriott Hotel
    • Cara Lodge Hotel

    Check out some accommodation deals for Georgetown here.

    Book your Hotel and Flight for the Mashramani Carnival

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    Origins of the Mashramani Carnival

    mashramani carnival

    The Jaycees of Linden, a group of young people, since 1966 had been organizing an independence carnival in Mackenzie, a town located in Linden, Guyana’s second largest city after Georgetown.

    It was not until February 1970 that they formed a Jaycees Republic Celebrations Committee and began organizing the activities to be held at the carnival.

    This group of young people wanted to identify the celebration with a word that would replace carnival and Basil Butcher, the Guyanese cricketer, proposed that it be an Amerindian name, which is a language with an American and indigenous stamp.

    The young people contacted an Amerindian, who told his grandfather about the idea and said it would be to celebrate a special event, so the man said it was like “gathering many” or Mashirimehi in Amerindian and, in Arawak it sounded like Mashramani, they sought to confirm this, but since there were no hypotheses that corroborated or denied this, they decided to call it as it is known today.

    In Guyanese English, Mashramani means “celebration after cooperative work”.

    On February 23, 1970, the Mashramani festival began in Linden, which lasted three days and gathered a multitude of Guyanese in the streets of the city. Seeing the success of the activity, they asked to celebrate it in Georgetown, but soon after, the then president, Forbes Burnham, asked to make it a national holiday.

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    The Mashramani carnival used to rotate between Linden, Berbice and Georgetown, but given the financial support received, the costume band contest was kept in Georgetown, so nowadays it is where this date is celebrated in a big way.

    mashramani carnival

    How to get to Mashramani?

    Guyana offers two possibilities to reach its lands, by plane or vehicle, depending on where you are.

    • By plane: If you are traveling from a Latin American country you must make a stopover, as there are no direct flights to Guyana. The ideal would be to travel to Suriname and from there you can take a plane to the South American country. Trinidad and Tobago, being so close to Guyana, offer the possibility of taking a direct flight without major setbacks.
    • By Car: To get to Guyana by car, you can only leave from Suriname or Boa Vista – Brazil. Leaving Suriname you must take a ferry in New Nickery and it will arrive at Moleson Creek. They only make one trip per day and usually leave at 11:00 a.m., so plan your departure time to avoid missing the ferry. If you are in Boa Vista you are going to make a trip of almost 500 km, of which 400 km are made on a dirt road, which requires you to travel in a van or truck. Do you dare?

    What to do and see at the Mashramani carnival?

    mashramani carnival

    In addition to experiencing the Mashramani carnival, in Georgetown you have the opportunity to learn about the history of Guyana in some of its museums and other tourist sites that always keep a secret of the town.

    •  Guyana National Museum: Since February 13, 1868, the National Museum of Guyana has given visitors the pleasure of learning about its extensive collection of minerals, fruits, seeds, flora and fauna of the country, and has received donations from German and British explorers and botanists. Fantastic!
    • Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology: the government opened the doors of this museum in 1982 with the purpose of collecting, presenting and preserving artifacts related to the ancient cultures of Guyana in order to carry out anthropological research and disseminate knowledge of indigenous peoples. Great!
    • Stabroek Market: is one of the largest markets in Georgetown and holds a special historical significance, as it was built in 1881 in an iron and steel structure with a prominent clock tower, where you can get everything from jewelry to clothing. Wonderful!
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    Is it a safe city?

    Guyana has a medium level of insecurity, so authorities recommend taking precautions at dusk, as this is when most robberies occur. If you are going to travel at late hours, it is preferable to do so in the company of someone else.

    Armed gangs are very common in Georgetown, so it is recommended to visit without valuables and always keep your identity documents, such as your passport, safe. ¡Be careful!

    Are you ready to experience the Mashramani Carnival? Don’t let this opportunity pass you by, enjoy!

    Check out the Top Tours in Guyana on Viator here.

    Carnivaland recommends tours, events and accommodation based on our extensive experience and knowledge of them. We may earn affiliate commission from affiliate links in this article. Read more about our policy.

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