A Dive into Belize’s Culture: The Garifuna

A Dive into Belize’s Culture: The Garifuna

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Belize is a diverse country. It is rich in natural resources, Archeological Sites (Maya Ruins), conservatories, tourist attractions and cultures. Despite being a relevantly small country, Belize offers a lot to its visitors, friends, and very own citizens.

Belize cultural month is November without doubt. Schools would put on shows, have displays, cook cultural dishes and so much more. Every November, all Belizeans country wide would take a day to cater to the music, festivities, and food of the Garifuna. Race, color, and beliefs play no role that day and no one judges anyone.

Like every other big celebration, this day also has its Eve. You would hear drumming, see dancing, and smell food cooking to celebrate the big day that is about to approach. Streets would be roamed with people especially in the Countries Cultural Capital, Dangriga Town. November 18th is the Eve of the famous Garifuna Settlement Day.

Garifuna Settlement Day is public holiday in Belize that is celebrated every year on November 19th. This holiday was created by civil rights activist, Thomas Vincent Ramos in 1941 but was declared a national holiday in 1977. Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates the settlement of the Garifuna people in Belize after they were deported from the Grenadines by the British.

On November 19th, 1802, the very first boat carrying Garifuna landed on Belize’s shores. They brought a rich culture, music, language, dance, food, and clothing.

The music of the Garifuna culture typically uses drums and maracas and is accompanied by dances. The two most popular genres of music for the Garifuna are Punta and Paranda. One of the most loved dances is the ‘Jankuno’.

Their clothing is so beautiful and comprises of many bright colors, kerchiefs, and skirts or solid color pants for the males.

The basis of every Garifuna cuisine includes coconuts and cassava. Some of their famous dishes are: Hudut, Boil Up, Sahou, and Cassava Bread.

With that said, the Garifuna culture is rich with a profound history to defend it. If you are interested in getting to know Belize’s cultures or if you like cultural diversity, then November should be your time of year to visit. You will surely get a cultural lifetime experience during Garifuna Settlement Day. Tons of activities will be available in the Cultural Capital, Dangriga Town, as well as in Hopkins Village; both are the hearts of the Garifuna culture. Immerse yourself in something new.

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