You are on page 1of 5

Guyanese culture reflects the influence of African, Indian, French, Amerindian, Chinese,

British, Dutch, Portuguese, Caribbean and American culture.

Guyana is one of a few mainland territories that is considered to be a part of the


Caribbean region. Guyanese people share similar interests with the islands of the West
Indies, such as food, festive events, music, sports, etc.

Cultural events
• Mashramani
• Phagwah
• Deepavali (Diwali)

Literature and theatre


See also: Guyanese literature in the United Kingdom

Popular Guyanese authors include Wilson Harris, Jan Carew, Denis Williams and E. R.
Braithwaite. Braithwaite's memoir To Sir With Love details his experiences as a black
high school teacher in a white London slum. Edgar Mittelholzer is well known outside of
Guyana for such novels as Corentyne Thunder and a three-part novel known as the
Kaywana trilogy, the latter focusing on one family through 350 years of Guyana's history.

Although the beginning of theatre in 19th century Georgetown was European, in the early
20th century a new African and Indian Guyanese middle-class theatre emerged. In the
1950s there was an explosion of an ethnically diverse and socially committed theatre.
Despite an economic depression, there was a struggle to maintain theatre post-1980.
Serious repertory theatre was highlighted by Carifesta and the Theatre Guild of Guyana.[1]
Wordsworth McAndrew has been prominent in Guyanese theatre since the 1960s.

Music and visual arts


Main article: Music of Guyana

Guyana's musical tradition is a mix of Indian, African, European, and native elements.
Pop music includes American, Caribbean (reggae, calypso, chutney[2]), Brazilian and
other Latin musical styles. Popular Guyanese performers include Terry Gajraj, Mark
Holder, Eddy Grant, Dave Martins & the Tradewinds, Aubrey Cummings and Nicky
Porter. Among the most successful Guyanese record producers are Rohit Jagessar, Eddy
Grant, Terry Gajraj and Dave Martin.

Art takes many forms in Guyana, but its dominant themes are Amerindian, the ethnic
diversity of the population and the physical beauty of Guyana. Popular artists include
Stanley Greaves, Ronald Savory, Philip Moore and the late Aubrey Williams.
Film
Guiana 1838, a film by Guyanese-born director Rohit Jagessar that depicts the arrival of
indentured Indian servants to the Caribbean in 1838 following the 1834 abolition of
slavery in the British Empire, was released in 2004. A trailer can be seen at [1].

The story of the cinema in Guyana goes back to the 1920s when the Gaiety, probably
British Guiana's first cinema, stood by the Brickdam Roman Catholic Presbytery in
Georgetown, and showed Charlie Chaplin-type silent movies. After the Gaiety burnt
down around 1926, other cinemas followed, such as the Metro on Middle Street in
Georgetown, which became the Empire; the London on Camp Street, which became the
Plaza; and the Astor on Church and Waterloo Streets, which opened around 1940.

The Capitol on La Penitence Street in Albouystown had a rough reputation. The


Metropole was on Robb and Wellington Streets; the Rialto, which became the Rio, on
Vlissengen Road; the Hollywood was in Kitty; and the Strand de Luxe on Wellington
Street, was considered the luxury showplace.

Cinema seating was distinctly divided. Closest to the screen, with rows of hard wooden
benches, was the lowly Pit, where the effort of looking upwards at the screen for several
hours gave one a permanent stiff neck. The next section, House, was separated from the
Pit by a low partition wall. House usually had individual but connected wooden rows of
seats that flipped up or down. Above House was the Box section, with soft, private seats
and, behind Box, Balcony, a favourite place for dating couples. These divisions in the
cinema roughly represented the different strata existing in colonial society.

Architecture
Much historic architecture reflects the country's British colonial past. Many of these
buildings in Georgetown and New Amsterdam were built entirely of local woods.

Sports
See also: Cricket in the West Indies

Providence Stadium as seen from the East Bank Highway.

The major sports in Guyana are cricket (Guyana is part of the West Indies as defined for
international cricket purposes), softball cricket (beach cricket) and football (soccer).
Minor sports include netball, rounders, lawn tennis, basketball, table tennis, boxing,
squash and a few others.

Guyana played host to international cricket matches as part of the 2007 Cricket World
Cup. The new 15,000-seat Providence Stadium, also referred to as Guyana National
Stadium, was built in time for the World Cup and was ready for the beginning of play on
March 28. At the first international game of CWC 2007 at the stadium, Lasith Malinga of
the Sri Lankan team performed a helmet trick or double hat-trick (four wickets in four
consecutive deliveries).

Cuisine
Guyanese cuisine has many similarities to that of the rest of the Caribbean. The food is
diverse and includes dishes such as curry, roti and cookup rice (a one-pot meal of rice
with beans or peas sometimes a combination of both accompanied by chicken or salt
fish). The food reflects the ethnic makeup of the country and its colonial history, and
includes African and Creole, East Indian, Amerindian, Chinese and European (mostly
British, French and Portuguese) dishes.

Dishes have been adapted to Guyanese tastes, often by the addition of spices. Unique
preparations[3] include Pepperpot, a stew of Amerindian origin made with Cassareep (a
bitter extract of the cassava), hot pepper and seasoning. Other favourites are cassava
bread, stews, and Metemgie, a thick rich soup with a ground provision coconut base and
fluffy dumplings, eaten with fried fish or chicken. Homemade bread-making, an art in
many villages, is a reflection of the British influence that includes pastries such as cheese
roll, pine (pineapple) tart, and patties (sister to the Jamaican beef patty).

Caribbean and Latin American ground provisions (known colloquially as provisions) are
part of the staple diet and include cassava, sweet potato, edoes and others. Fresh fish and
seafood are an integral part of the food of the rural areas and small villages along the
coast. The crab soups and soups with okra from the Berbice coastal region resemble the
Louisiana creole soups like gumbo. Chinese food, sold in restaurants in the bigger towns,
includes Caribbean-style chow mein and Chicken in the ruff (fried rice with Chinese-style
fried chicken). A popular dessert is known as salara, also known as red cake.

There is an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood on the coast. Most people
use fresh fruit to make their own beverages, which are called "local drink". Popular
homemade drinks are mauby, made from the bark of a tree; sorrel drink, made from a
leafy vegetable used in salads; and ginger beer (made from ginger root) and peanut
punch.

Folklore
The Guyanese folklore is similar to the Caribbean folklores, mixed with afro-american
and indian beliefs.
Religion
Main article: Religion in Guyana

Many religions are practised in Guyana, the predominant ones being Christianity,
Hinduism and Islam.

Caribbean cuisine
Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, Amerindian, British, Spanish, French, Dutch,
Indian, and Chinese cuisine. These traditions were brought from the many homelands of
this region's population. In addition, the population has created styles that are unique to
the region.

A typical dish and one increasingly common outside of the area is "jerk" seasoned meats,
commonly chicken. It is a unique, spicy flavor, reminiscent of Louisiana Creole cuisine,
but still quite distinct from it. Curry goat and chicken are eaten throughout the
Anglophone Caribbean islands, penetrating much further into the Caribbean than have the
Indians who introduced them to the region over 150 years ago, most notably in Trinidad
and Tobago, Grenada and Guyana. Haitian, Guadeloupean and other French Caribbean
cuisine, is very similar. Rice is a prime food eaten with various sauces and beans, which
West Indians call peas.

A local version of Caribbean goat stew has been chosen as the official national dish of
Montserrat and is also one of the signature dishes of St. Kitts and Nevis. It is a tomato-
based stew, made with goat meat, breadfruit, green pawpaw (papaya), and dumplings
(also known as "droppers"). Another popular dish in the Anglophone Caribbean is called
"Cook-up", or Pelau, a dish which combines variations of meats like chicken, beef,
saltfish and or pigeon peas or vegetables with rice. Callaloo is a dish containing leafy
vegetables and sometimes okra amongst others, widely distributed in the Caribbean, with
a distinctively mixed African and indigenous character.

Meanwhile, the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean tend to prefer more savory
spices to these sharper flavors. Lime and garlic, for example, are more common on
Puerto Rico, Cuba and in the coastal areas of Colombia than pimento (or "allspice").
Other common flavors throughout the region include cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

Seafood is one of the most common cuisine types in the islands, and often each island
will have its own specialty. Some prepare lobster or conch, while others prefer certain
types of fish or sharks. The island of Barbados is known for its "flying fish," while
Trinidad and Tobago is known for its cascadura fish and crab, also fried shark served as a
sandwich called "bake and shark". While Saltfish Accra is served all across Caribbean
which has its roots from western Africa.
Another Caribbean mainstay is rice, in various forms on different islands. Some season
their rice, or add peas and other touches such as coconut. Sometimes the rice is yellow,
other times it may be more brown but overall it tends to just act as part of a dish.

Beans are also very popular, especially in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean area. It's
preparation may vary by country.

Conch is a very popular food in The Bahamas and Belize as well, where fritters are made
by creating a batter of the chopped meat, seasonings and dough, and then deep frying.