Guyana is a blessed land to be observing a religious celebration from each of the three mainstream religions, namely, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, simultaneously. Christians are observing the period of Lent (to culminate with Good Friday and Easter); Hindus are observing Navratri (to conclude with Ramnaumi); Muslims are observing Ramadan (to finish with Eid-Al-Fitr). Significantly important is the mutual element of fasting which is factored into all three occasions in order to realise the goal of achievement and satisfaction. The other concept of denying oneself something that brings pleasure is also advocated, i.e., having to “give up something.” This doctrine of abstention may be converted into different forms of doing away (temporarily) from something materially tangible or intangible. The more popular ones may be a particular food or drink, smoking, sexual gratification or a hobby. There are guided restrictions on the amount of food intake and the type of food to be consumed also, in particular, meat. While those in good health and of qualifying age are not prohibited from the practice, those medically affected and the very young are not expected to adhere to any compliance and are forgivingly exempted. All three events promote a sense of a better wellbeing and possibly giving the body organs a chance to rest, repair and recuperate. More greens, vegetables and fruits are sold and vendors do brisk business on a faster turnover. Yes, this can also encourage higher prices to suit the demand and creating some degree of scarcity. The cost of fish, eggs and meat play out to a different scenario and may level off. You can gain, health wise, with the correct discipline. On the contrary, as more sweetmeats for dessert are displayed and eaten, this may pose a challenge as a health risk for consideration.
The ambience of fewer social activities in terms of pleasurable communion is generated. As a result, there is less sale and consumption of alcohol (cigarettes) and visiting bars, rum shops and night clubs. Such lower demand does not influence the price for these items though. With less night traffic and intoxicated drivers, maybe, road accidents and the fatality figure may be of interest to the statisticians for this period. Are the roads safer during this period? How less abusive do families, relatives, friends, colleagues and associates become? The sociologists may be reading between the lines to analyse violent behaviour and other repercussion as this period of leniency unfolds itself in society. The choice of music may be re-prioritised and the sensitivity of volume and high decibel may be a conscious reconsideration. Psychologists may have a field day pondering on if these religious programmes affect the loudness and lateness of music. Are neighbourhoods less disturbed? Do people listen to less lurid (bawdy) lyrics, softer intonations, melodies of appeasing nature and songs that motivate more responsible behaviour and goodliness (Godliness)? Psychiatrists may be looking at behavioural pattern to determine whether or not robbers and thieves still ply their trade or go on vacation during this “holy” period. Does the country experience less stealing and cheating as more “Sunday Best” is worn, thus safety and security is less prominent and promiscuous with the Police Department?
Perhaps, another hallmark is the demand for the individual to pray daily. There is more turnout at the churches, mosques and mandirs throughout all the different communities. Prayer is one of the pillars of foundation for all religions. This also spurs the sale of more fashionable outwear as the appropriate garments are sought after in the stores along with matching jewellery and footwear. Business certainly picks up! Pandits, maulvis and priests are kept busier as more religious functions are held and their services are in demand. Is there any conversation from bad to good, good to better and better to best? The reverse is certainly not anticipated! Brotherly and sisterly relationship takes a turn for the better and even neighbours experience a higher sense of gratification for appreciation. The love of mankind becomes synonymous with Spring as the flowers bloom to beautify the place with scent and sight.
Not to outdo all the before mentioned ingredients of love, compassion and kindness, is the remarkable attitude of becoming charitable or giving more in larger quantity and quality not only to the needy and less fortunate, but also, to the various established institutions and organisations which dedicate their services towards the care and compassion of the underprivileged. During this time, people would delve deeper into their pockets and become generous to give willingly towards the creditable welfare of those impoverished from the luxuries in life and perhaps, only enjoying the basic necessities to survive. Providing meals, distributing clothes and giving money represent some of the selfless and not selfish demeanour in which people construe the act of blessedness. This essential aspect of deliberation reflects moral dignity and gratefulness for caring by sharing. Guyana joins the rest of the world as a God-fearing nation where the majority of its inhabitants preach or practice the customs and traditions as dictated by one of the many religious beliefs. Most do predominantly contribute towards some philosophical teachings and are guided by generations of cultural upbringing. Our ancestors provided many rules and regulations, but, this era of modernisation does not necessarily comply with ancient antecedents and so we witness a degree of laxity creeping into the arteries and avenues to determine a degradation of unacceptable pervasiveness. Is Guyana a safer and better place during this festive season of religious holiness?