Easter is widely celebrated around the world by Christians. Guyana celebrates Easter with a long weekend from Friday, a national holiday to Monday.
There are outdoor activities which bring persons from all walks of life fulfilling selflessly the “purpose of the sacrifice on the cross”. This is according to Bishop Francis Alleyne of the Brickdam Cathedral.
Easter Sunday which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is considered the most important and sacred Sunday of the entire year by Christians. It is the biblical principle to honour the day of Christ’s resurrection. According to the Bible, God established a command that the Passover should be observed annually to honour Christ’s death. Today, Christians celebrate the New Testament Passover.
According to the Bible, Jesus’ death was a sacrifice for the sins of others, but his resurrection represents eternal life salvation, and renewal of faith. This is why Easter celebrations are preceded by Lent (a time of abstinence and reflection), the Easter Vigil (when new believers are baptised), and the sacrament of confession. After the season of shedding bad habits and resisting temptations, Easter is the opportunity for Christians to recommit to their beliefs.
It celebrates Christians’ belief in the divine power of Jesus and the hope that when one experiences a loss it leads to something new.
Bishop Alleyne said that Easter is the central feast and the theme of Christianity relates to the resurrection, new life, hope and starting afresh. “My encouragement is to live the Easter message; it is not just a story that’s related to us in scripture, it is how you take that story and make it our own.”
Bishop of World Vision New Testament Church of God, Joseph Inniss, said that this church does not observe Lent, but celebrates the week of passion which begins on Palm Sunday and finishes on resurrection Sunday.
Bishop Inniss emphasised that to,“have hope in our lord and saviour Jesus Christ he defied death, just like he defeated death he can whatsoever is troubling your life.”
The Easter Holidays are celebrated four non-working days–Good Friday to Easter Monday. Guyana’s kite flying is the major activity and attraction.
Schools are closed for two weeks for the Easter vacation, and children work with their parents and friends to prepare for a unique Guyanese tradition- kite-flying.
Christians and other believers attend church on Good Friday to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. On Easter Monday there is the Easter tradition of kite flying.
Along the coastland; Georgetown, East Coast of Demerara, East Bank of Demerara and other areas, the sky teems with kites of all sizes, colours and designs. It is believed that flying of kites signifies soaring towards the heavens and is a representation of Christ’s resurrection.
Hot cross buns which are traditionally baked and shared with relatives and friends in time for Good Friday is also a feature of Easter. This special bread is sweet and baked with fruits, and displays the symbol of the cross.
Skilful kite makers create a variety of board, box and bird kites to cash in on their seasonal market. These traditional hand-crafted kites, along with the manufactured plastic kites in the form of Batman, Spiderman, Ben Ten, Sponge, and Barbie are just some of the varieties available that bring much joy and excitement to thousands of children and adults flying kites for Easter.
There are several types of kites which include the Star Point, Pointer Tip, Cartoon Characters, Bird Kites, Box Kites, Heart Kites, Patch Work, Singing Engine and ‘Caddy ole punch’. The kites also come in varying sizes which can range from one inch to 50 feet. Prizes are often given for the largest and smallest kites which are ‘raised’ and can fly.
Easter is also a time for picnics at the beaches, creeks.
Recently, the egg decorating and hunting for colourful easter eggs, mainly by the children are being promoted in Guyana.
According to a GINA report, Minister within the Ministry of Education who holds the responsibility for culture, Nicolette Henry said that here in Guyana, this event brings “all our people together consistently year after year, demonstrating emphatically that we are one people, one nation with one destiny”.
“I take this opportunity to encourage all to remember that as we look beyond our differences, to be or bothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Look out especially for the children who may want to go flying their kites unattended in areas with overhanging electrical wires; thus causing injury to themselves,” GINA quoted her as saying.
Every year during the Easter weekend, two other traditions that generate much excitement are the Bartica Regatta and the Rupununi Rodeo at Lethem. Bartica Regatta offers a variety of entertaining activities which include water sports with speed boat and jet boat races, cricket, boxing, soccer, talent shows, a street parade, and a Miss Bartica Regatta Pageant.
The Rupununi Rodeo brings thousands by bus, SUVs, and even motorbikes or by plane from savannah country to jungle. The event begins on the Saturday before Easter and continues until Easter Monday, with daytime activities like wild bull riding, horse racing, wild cow milking, wild horse riding, a female barrel race, and a Miss Rupununi Rodeo Beauty Pageant.