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Guyana: Culture and Religion

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Kelsey Eckhoff

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of Guyana: Culture and Religion

Guyana: Culture and Religion
Background to the Culture
Africans
East Indians
Chinese
Portuguese
Europeans
Amerindians
Cultural Events and Holidays
Mashramani
Phagwah
Deepavali (Diwali)
Folk Festival
Rodeo
Costa Rica babay
Etiquette and Behaviors
Greetings: Always handshake

Communication Style:
The Guyanese are known to be very direct and to the point. Honesty is appreciated and expected. Example: Being called “fat” is more a compliment. If your hair is shaggy, it’s “ugly;” time for a haircut.
Humor plays a big role in communication.
Public displays of anger and affection are common among the Guyanese

Personal Space:
The Guyanese tend to be most comfortable at arms lengths from one another. Two and half to three feet is normal.
People tend to get very close, depending on the situation. Families do hug, but on rare occasion it seems. This may be different depending on ethnic background: African, Amerindian, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese or European.

Views of Time:
The Guyanese place more emphasis on people and relationships than to the strict adherence of set schedules in social situations
There are time schedules for transportation, but they are flexible. Word of mouth is a good resource. Hop in the back of someone’s passing truck or flag down a mini bus.
People tend to be more punctual in Georgetown, ’s capital. But this seems to change the farther one ventures from the coast. Time becomes more relaxed and slow. Things are done, “just now.”

Etiquette and Behaviors Cont.
Gender Issues:
The Guyanese value equality and work opportunities for women are varied and available, yet earnings may still be lower
Women are not often seen drinking in local rum shops or bars. This differs in Georgetown . If a woman is drinking in public and out of a bottle, it will be accompanied with a straw

Gestures:
Waving is more to get attention, not greet. A slight shake or nod of the head is also used.
“How’s it selling” is commonly used to ask for a price at the market. As a shopper you will be asked if “you shopping?

Taboos:
It may be considered rude if you do not honk when passing a vehicle, driving through an intersection or near pedestrians.
Making sure to say “please” is a good idea. Example: “Please excuse me;” instead of just “excuse me.”
By: Kelsey
Population reflects Immigrant History:
Christian (usually Anglican)
Most of the East Indian population is Hindu, but there's a sizeable Muslim minority.
The Majority of Afro-Guyanese Population are:
Presentation Focus:
Cultural Events/Holidays
Etiquette and Behaviors
Folklore
Mashramani
Means "the celebration of a job well done"
observed on the February 23rd- Guyana's Republic Day - to commemorate the "Birth of the Republic".
One of the most colorful of all the festivals.
Consists of costume competitions, float parades, masquerade bands, and dancing in the streets
Masquerades frequent the streets performing acrobatic dance routines, a reminder of Guyana's African heritage.
Phagwah
Hindu religious holiday
observed in March to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Hindus traditionally wear white on Phagwah day
Throw abeer at each other.
Abeer is a red dye which symbolizes the blood of the tyrannical King Kiranya who in Hindu lore was ordered to be burnt alive by his son Prince Prahalad because of the suffering which his people endured at the hands of his father.
Powder, perfume, and water are also thrown on family, friends and neighbors
Eid-ul-Azha
The most important time of the year for Muslims
Ramadan is not held at the same time every year, because Muslims count their months from phases of the moon which change from year to year.
Muslims are required by their religion to fast for a month each year. During the fast they do not eat nor drink between sunrise and sunset.
Fasting is supposed to encourage good thoughts and kind acts.
At the end of the fasting month, They celebrate a day known as "Eid".
Muslims who can afford it try to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, their holy city, at least once during their lifetime.
They pray and offer sacrifices in memory of the sacrifice of Ishmael.
Easter
Bacoo Folklore
A spirit of small stature that pelts stones at houses and moves objects within a house.
He is supposed to live on bananas and milk.
Stories of the existence of bacoos are primarily in Georgetown and other areas in Guyana.
Could have come from Surinam
Originally they are trapped in a corked bottle unless released.
Active mainly at night,
it is said that a satisfied bakkoo will answer the wishes of its owner.
'Baku' in many West African languages means 'little brother' or 'short man'.
The word 'bacucu' meaning 'banana'.
In West Africa, the short races (such as the pygmies) were believed to have magical powers. This seemed to have been brought to Guyana, where the short races, or 'bakus', were still regarded as having magical powers.
References:

http://www.guyana.org/Handbook/festival.html
http://www.guyanesepride.com/about/
http://www.culturecrossing.net/basics_business_student_details.php?Id=21&CID=89
http://www.cariwave.com/guyana_folklore.htm

Any Questions?
Full transcript