Mashramani, often abbreviated to “Mash”, is an annual festival that celebrates Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970. The festival, usually held on 23 February – Guyanese Republic Day – includes a parade, music, games and cooking and is intended to commemorate the “Birth of the Republic”.The word “Mashramani” is derived from an Amerindian language and in translation means “the celebration after hard work”. It is one of the most colourful of all the country’s festivals. There are spectacular costume competitions, float parades, masquerade bands, and dancing in the streets to the accompaniment of steel band music and calypsos. Masquerades frequent the streets performing acrobatic dance routines, a vivid reminder of Guyana’s African heritage. Calypso competitions with their witty social commentaries are another integral part of “Mash”, and this culminates in the coronation of a King or Queen for the particular year.