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A Cultural Extravaganza: Guyanese gather to commemorate Emancipation

GUYANA’S National Park on Tuesday came alive with the vibrant sounds of traditional drumming and the aromatic scent of local delicacies as Guyanese and tourists alike gathered in celebration of this year’s Emancipation festival.
The annual festival, which is organised by the African Cultural Development Association (ACDA) has become a norm for Guyanese to attend.

This year, the Afro-Guyanese community and country at large celebrated its 185th Emancipation anniversary.
Patrons entering the park to view the various exhibitions were greeted with the lively sounds of Guyanese folk songs performed by local artistes.

Patrons were treated to a series of live dance performances

Additionally, persons were seen flocking the local food stands and snow cone stalls as many sought to quench the thirst brought on by the August heat.

Aside from the booths, patrons were treated to a cultural show held earlier in the day on the Park’s tarmac.
Thrilling acrobatics, soothing songs and vibrant dance performances were all featured. In fact, some patrons even joined the performers, gyrating to the rhythms of various local drummers who performed at various parts of the event.
Meanwhile, friendly competitions were held among local chefs who went head-to-head in a battle of who could cook the best Guyanese ‘cook-up’.

Aside from the various activities, traditional fashion took centre stage with many patrons sporting vibrant prints, striking head wraps and various silhouettes.
Many persons made special efforts to ensure their outfits were as original as possible, as such many families were easily identifiable with their uniquely matching pieces, while several of the matching mother-and-daughter and couple ensembles turned heads.

“Everybody dress up and looks nice and everybody happy, we having a good time,” one patron, Randy said.
The man who also owns a small craft shop, took the opportunity to set up a booth in hopes of selling a few of his handmade beaded jewelry.

“I usually sell on regent street, but I had to come out here and sell too,” Randy said, as he shouted out to patrons passing by to purchase one of his pieces.

This year’s celebration also saw many overseas-based Guyanese returning home, such persons were Jacklyn and her husband Mike (only name given), who are currently on vacation from New York, United States of America.
“Everything seems to be okay,” the woman said, “It’s my first time after 15 years”, she added.

Jacklyn noted that while she has visited home several times in the past, she had never celebrated Emancipation ‘in the park’
“I’ve been back for a number of times, but not at this time, so it’s my first time at this celebration and to participate in these activities; I may buy a few tokens to take back for my kids.”

Also spotted was British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller

Later in the evening the exhibition came to a close and patrons gathered on the tarmac where they were treated to live performances of Ghanian Afro-beats star, Livingstone Etse Satekla, better known by his stage name “Stonebwoy” and award-winning reggae family band Morgan Heritage.