Myths, Legends, Folktales and Fables of Guyana

Myths, Legends, Folktales and Fables of Guyana

By Dmitri Allicock for the Guyaneseonline blog

The practices of Myths, legends, folktales and fables is said to provide continuity and stability to a culture. They foster a shared set of perspectives, values, history and literature, in the stories themselves. Through these communal tales, we are connected to one another, to our ancestors, to the natural world surrounding us, and to society; and, in the myths which have universal themes; we are connected to other cultures. Through their authoritativeness and the respected characters within them, myths establish a culture’s customs, rituals, religious tenets, laws, social structures, power hierarchies, territorial claims, arts and crafts, holidays and other recurring events, and technical tips for hunting, warfare, and other endeavors.  

We transcend our common life into a world in which deities interact with humans, and we can believe that our daily actions are part of the deities’ grand schemes. In our difficulties, the pain is more bearable because we believe that the trials have meaning; we are suffering for a bigger cause rather than being battered randomly. And when we read that a particular deity experienced something which we are now enduring — perhaps a struggle against “evil forces” — we can feel that our own struggle might have a similar cosmic or archetypal significance, though on a smaller scale. Some of Guyana’s myths and legends are unique to her and not found elsewhere while some practices have similar characteristics to other cultures of the Caribbean and around the world.   [more  Myths, legends, folktales and fables of Guyana]

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  • Deen  On October 15, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Dmitri, thanks for another fine and informative piece that shed some meaningful light on our Guyanese culture of superstitions. The legends of the Massacurra Man and Kaniama were new to me. I recall as children we were all frightened by the unseen denizens of the dark….. the jumbee, the bacoo and old higue. The fear of myths and superstitions may have faded, but now Guyanese are confronted with the nightmares of reality. Perhaps we can invoke the spirits of the past to instil some fears on the devils of the present. Peace.

  • Dmitri allicock  On October 15, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Thanks you for you kind compliments Deen and it great to hear from you. Did you get a chance to look at “The special story of Nancy- the last princess of Nooitgedacht and Upper Demerara?”

  • de castro  On October 15, 2012 at 10:15 am

    thank you for that “cultural” experience …read every word !
    in two words “fantastic” “fantacy” !
    On my recent visit to GUYANA I enjoyed the “nancy story” female calipsonian
    version …she won the “calipso Queens-Kings award in 2012…but her name
    eludes me !…
    GUYANESE culture wil never die ! it will live on in the minds andhearts of us all guyanese born-bred.
    once again thank you for such a wonderful read ! legendary read !

  • needybad4u- Leonard Dabydeen  On October 16, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Folklore (tetractys poem)

    folk gaffe
    bring to life
    culture their own
    folklore continues till ma’nin day come.

    Behind blacksage bush in the dark of night
    you squat fuh pee
    but hear sound
    call .

  • Dmitri allicock  On October 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Thank you Kampton, “Trick or Treat” Guyana style is some ways.

  • de castro  On October 16, 2012 at 10:37 am

    ha ha

  • Dmitri allicock  On October 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    This elegant “black sage bush poem” reminds of a story which I heard years ago. One night, many years ago in a particular East Coast Demerara Village, a man hurriedly and randomly chose a tree to relieve his bladder.
    He was found a few days after with a broken neck, lying within the root of this Mora tree which once marked the grave of an old Chinese Immigrant.

  • de castro  On October 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

    even more ha ha

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