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February 23rd 2017
Published: February 23rd 2017
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It's time to celebrate Mashramani!

First of all, soundtrack to this post can be found here. Open another tab and have a listen!

Mashramani - 'the celebration after hard work' - quite literally the 'work hard - play hard' festival. It is Guyana's Republic day, and much like other countries in central and South America, it is celebrated with parades, floats, dancing, costume and calypso competitions which end with the crowning of a king or queen for a year.

And so I've been listening to Guyanese music, which has been really cool. My favourite is the like above - which just sings about the beauty of Guyana... and makes me really want to visit. Guyana you have been added to the list - there isn't a top of the list, but if there were, you'd be there!

There are countless carnivals happening around the world at the moment. Shrovetide, the period before Lent, is celebrated with parades and the excessive consumption of rich foods. It is kind of disappointing that growing up in the UK we have Shrove Tuesday, when we eat pancakes before fasting in Lent, and comparing that to the way a lot of countries (especially in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Central/South American) celebrate with a massive over indulgence of food, I sometimes think Henry VIII got it massively wrong.

Other celebrations today include Latvia's Meteni, an ancient spring festival that precedes Ash Wednesday. It is celebrated by eating and drinking as much as you want, slaughtering pigs and making the traditional holiday pig's head and fritters. Adults pelt their children with gifts (literally throw them at them). A bonfire is built to burn last year's wreaths. I have no pig, children or last years wreaths.


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