Guyanese culture reflects the influence of African, Indian, French, Amerindian, Chinese, British, Dutch, Portuguese, Caribbean, and American culture.
Art takes many forms in Guyana, but its dominant themes are Amerindians, the ethnic diversity of the population and the physical beauty of Guyana.
The music of French Guiana includes aléké, bigi pokoe, and bushee negro music. Surinamese music, especially kaseko, is also very popular in French Guiana.
The way people dress in Guyana is fairly diverse and this diversity is heavily dependent on ethnicity or religion. With each passing year many traditional dresses are slowly being lost in favor of western-styled clothing and in many people in the cities wear western clothes.
Few of the indigenous people wear traditional dress anymore, except on some holidays or special events; this dress is very simply a small cloth for men and a large sheet of cloth that covers most of the body for women. Hindi and Muslim men and women tend to cover up as knees and elbows are rarely to never seen. The Hindi women often wear a sari while men more often wear western-styled clothing, but some do still wear traditional Indian dress. Muslims are similar in that many men wear western-styled clothing, but most Muslim women wear a traditional and conservative outfit called a shalwar.
As a visitor to Guyana it is best to dress conservatively as showing your knees or shoulders is offensive to both the Hindis and the Muslims and together they make up nearly half the population. Both men and women should wear long pants and shirts that cover their shoulders and preferably reach past their elbows while in Guyana. If conducting business, visiting religious sites, or visiting governmental buildings this is especially true as being more conservative and more formal is a good rule to follow in these situations.
The diversity of cultures has given the local foods their flavor. Caribbean and Creole style foods are common along with Western foods and such Asian cuisines as Vietnamese and Chinese. Seafood, especially shrimp, is eaten quite often. Rice accompanies most of the dishes.
The official language is French. All business and most common dialogue is conducted using the mainstream French. The native tribes in the interior, however, use their own language, and the African tribes use Taki-Taki, a pidgin English.
Popular Guyanese authors include Wilson Harris, Jan Carew, Denis Williams and E. R. Braithwaite. Braithwaite’s memoir, To Sir With Love, details his experiences as a black high school teacher in a white London slum.
Edgar Mittelholzer is well known outside of Guyana for such novels as Corentyne Thunder and a three-part novel known as the Kaywana trilogy, the latter focusing on one family through 350 years of Guyana’s history.
Houses range greatly in size and uniqueness, but the relative prosperity that results from living under the French flag allows the houses to be built of decent quality, and almost all have running water and electricity. They are usually painted light colors such as blue and yellow in keeping with the Caribbean Creole style. Small gardens are often annexed to the houses. The Amerindian residences in the interior are usually simple thatched roof huts, following tradition.
The major sports in Guyana are cricket (Guyana is part of the West Indies as defined for international cricket purposes), softball cricket (beach cricket) and football. The minor sports in Guyana are netball, rounders, lawn tennis, basketball, table tennis, boxing, squash, and a few others.
All major French holidays are celebrated, including Bastille Day, Labor Day, and the Catholic holidays.