Have you ever had a Guyanese Christmas?

A Tourism & Hospitality

Association of Guyana column

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Santa bellows at Cheddi Jagan International Airport as passengers walk off the plane. “Welcome Home!” It’s Christmas in Guyana and the smells of black cake baking and ginger beer brewing fill the air. All of Georgetown is abuzz with preparations for Christmas. Decorations, lights and all the trimmings deck both homes and businesses.

Everywhere, you hear carols, and the busy sounds of Christmas. The children are giddy with anticipation of the arrival of Santa Claus. The spirit of a Guyanese Christmas is everywhere.

You always hear that there is no place like Guyana for Christmas. There are childhood memories of stories told by parents and grandparents of Centipede bands with Mother Sally and the Wild Cow dancing through the streets.


Fruits have been soaking in wine for months upon months in preparation for the Christmas Black Cake

People are cleaning their houses and hanging new window curtains for the holiday season and the coming year.

There’s the endless rounds of staff parties; the craziness of last-minute shopping on Christmas eve and midnight mass with the family.

The presents are under the tree next morning as the smells of Pepperpot and Garlic pork waft through the neighbourhood. There’s Christmas day visits with friends and family; making the rounds from house to house, tasting the ‘best’ homemade ginger beer, sorrel drink and black cake.

And of course we cannot forget Old Year’s Night, the occasion for dressing up, landing at some high-profile ball then returning home the worst for wear the next day to eat what is left of the black-eye cook-up rice prepared the evening before.

This is also the season when we create new memories and new traditions. Between our holiday parties we must find the time to enjoy the special treats that many of our finest hotels are providing. There are holiday rates and special Christmas events for the entire family. These occasions provide an opportunity to experience a range of entertainment including the musical offerings of the Marriott Hotel and the delightful daily Christmas lunch at Cara Lodge, throughout the season.

Shopping for the perfect gift is sometimes a formidable challenge. If you are looking for a truly unique and memorable gift, there are visits to our many tourist attractions including the breathtaking Kaieteur Falls. Trans Guyana Airways is offering discounted weekend rates for such tours from Friday through Monday. Maybe you want to create a special family weekend if you have relatives visiting; or perhaps you just want to enjoy the season with your immediate family. This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of the holiday discounts at resorts like Baganara and Arrowpoint. For the more adventurous who want to enjoy all that Guyana has to offer, a trip to the interior can easily be booked through Wilderness Explorers, Dagron Tours or an overland excursion with Adventures Guiana.

And when you want to step off the heady ride of Christmas shopping you may wish to stop in at the Coffee Bean Eatery to enjoy their eggnog and gingerbread lattes and salted caramel cappuccinos. Or take the family to Duke Lodge; it is a wonderful place for a family celebration.

This Christmas we must seek to leave the less pleasant preoccupations behind, spend time with family and friends and immerse ourselves in the spirit of the season. Enjoy all the wonderful things that Guyana has to offer!

Create new traditions which will become the special memories that your children and grandchildren will talk about in years to come.

With all good wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year from the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana

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