Celebrating the closure of the old year has long been a pastime of many cultures, particularly in the Caribbean. Equally exciting is the ushering in of the new year, embracing the unknown and the prospect of a better more fulfilling year.
A close group of Guyanese friends and relatives have, over the past five years, been gathering at alternate venues among them around the country.
Traditional to Guyanese culture the women take care of the food while the men provide the drinks. The net result is an event flooded with indigenous Guyanese dishes, (Cook up rice, Pepper Pot, Garlic Pork, souse and more) and delicacies such as Salara bun, beef patties, cheese rolls and more.
The celebration for 2015 Old Year’s Night was held in Scotland at a hall to accommodate the growing membership which included a table of native Scottish guests. Attendees came from far and wide including New Castle, Sheffield, London and even New York. The popularity of the Guyana Old Year’s Night Party is such that folks plan a year ahead for this special occasion.
Granted the dinner and dance on Old Year’s Night was dubbed by all to be fantastic, inclusive and fun; the highlight of the weekend’s activity was the after party at a home venue. The predominant feature was what Guyanese call ‘Tantalize’ which is the British equivalent of ‘Ribbing’. Members are all subject to being ribbed on any aspect of their demeanor, attitude, attire, or short comings by other members in an atmosphere of mutual respect, love and appreciation…The result is rapturous eye-watering, and in some cases, uncontrollable laughter.
The inclusive nature of this special event is such that children of all ages are included adding a unique quality to the overall experience for all. This, including story-telling inadvertently preserves many aspects of Guyanese culture generally regarded to be under threat by the predominance of British cultural practices.
2016 Old Year’s Night is already being planned via a What’s App page created for the event with the main aim of keeping the vibe alive for the next 11 months. Roll on Old Year’s Night 2016…Roll on! Written by David F Roberts, Photography by David F Roberts and Edward Lord. Click HERE for more articles by David F Roberts.