Like Canadians, many Guyanese stay up until past midnight to ring in the New Year. They too often make New Year's resolutions.

Mushramani means celebration of a job well done in the native language and is a national holiday. It is celebrated on February 23 which is Guyana's Republic Day, an important civic holiday. Republic Day is marked by a week of special programs on television, in schools and in public places.

There are many religious holidays. Christmas is the most celebrated event. People cook, eat and go to sporting events. Everyone participates in the religious celebrations regardless of their beliefs. A unique Christmas celebration is the performance of the masquerade band, a group of roving costumed musicians, moving from house to house, singing and playing of musical instruments.

Two national holidays commemorate significant Hindu events. For Diwali, the Festival of Light, people light hundreds of earthen oil lamps in Hindu homes. Special prayers for prosperity are offered. The second Hindu holiday is Phagwa, the festival of spring. People celebrate by throwing coloured powder and water on one another.

There are also two Muslim religious holidays. They are Eid-al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid-al-Adha, which commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. A noticeable feature of Guyanese culture is that everyone, regardless of religion, participates to varying degrees in all the religious holidays of their friends and neighbours.

Did you know?

During Christmas, the celebration transcends all ethnic, religious and social definition as Christians and non-Christians alike dance in the streets or share their caring for one another with gifts and feasting.