Independence Day is commemorated on May 26 in Guyana. The public holiday commemorates Guyana’s independence on May 26, 1966 from the British. The festivities include traditional cuisine, arts, and a music festival, as well as fashion shows, music, food, and dance, as well as other cultural activities. A flag-raising ceremony is held in Durban Park on the eve of Independence Day, followed by a presidential address to the nation. In addition, there are concerts, performances, and a pyrotechnics display at midnight to celebrate the occasion.
HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCE DAY (GUYANA)
Nine indigenous communities inhabited pre-colonial Guyana, including the Akawaio, Macushi, Waiwai, Arawak, Patamona, Warrau, Carib, Wapishana, and Arekuna. However, the Lokono and Kalina were the most dominant. During his voyage in 1498, Christopher Columbus was the first known European to see Guyana. The Dutch began establishing colonies in 1581, including Pomeroon, Essequibo, Berbice, and Demerara. During the French Napoleonic and revolutionary conflicts, the French occupied the country from 1792 to 1815. In 1814, the Dutch ceded to the British the territories of Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo. The colonies of Demerara-Essequibo and Berbice united in 1831 to form the colony known as British Guiana.
The British abolished the slave trade in the country during the 1830s. In 1953, they also enacted a new constitution that granted adult universal suffrage, a ministerial system, and a bicameral legislature. The constitution was reinstated in 1957 despite being suspended in the same year due to the election of an ostensibly pro-communist political leader. Around 1964, the Indo-Guyanese party and the Afro-Guyanese party founded a new coalition government. The colony of British Guiana declared its independence on May 26, 1966, adopting the name ‘Guyana.’
Independence Day is one of the country’s most significant national festivities. It not only commemorates an important historical event, but also represents Guyanese cultural heritage. The celebration begins with a two-day Guyana Food, Arts, and Music Festival, which features fashion displays, music, food, dance, and other cultural activities. A flag-raising ceremony is held in Durban Park on the eve of Independence Day, followed by a presidential address to the nation. In addition, there are concerts, performances, and a pyrotechnics display at midnight to celebrate the occasion.
Five essential facts about Guyana
Guyana is a distinct nation in South America
Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language.
Guyana was the inspiration for “The Lost World”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World” was inspired by the tepui landscape of Guyana, although no dinosaur remains have been discovered there.
Guyana has the highest waterfall in the world.
The volume of water pouring from the Guyanese Kaieteur Falls makes it the world’s largest single-drop waterfall.
Guyana has dense, impenetrable forests
Guyana has one of the largest and least explored rainforests in South America due to their vastness and isolation.
Guyana is heavily wooded
Approximately 70% of Guyana is covered by rainforest.
INDEPENDENCE DAY (GUYANA) DATES