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Paying tribute to “The Garinagu” in Belize

Of the many cultures and ethnic groups that make up the identity of Belize, none is more synonymous to November than the Garinagu/Garifuna culture. An annual celebration held in Belize on November 19th, a public and bank holiday, signals their prominence and arrival to our southern shores; almost 4 centuries ago. This holiday is known as the Garifuna Settle Day in Belize. Here are a few facts focusing on this unique culture and people that share part of our identity as a country. History of the Garifuna More than four centuries ago, the British began importing slaves from Africa to work on plantations in the Caribbean. Over time, these people began intermarrying with local Carib and Arawak natives, developing a new culture called the Garifuna. After rebelling against the British, the Garifuna were pursued throughout the Caribbean. First landing on the island of Roatan (part of modern Honduras) where they adopted cassava into their diet, the Garifuna eventually arrived on the shores of Belize on November 19, 1802, establishing themselves in villages such as Barranco, Seine Bight, Dangriga, Hopkins and Punta Gorda. The unique Garifuna Culture While Garinagus are known as skilled crafters and talented painters, there biggest contribution has […]

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‘El Gran Carnaval’ de San Pedro – An Island Tradition

February might be known as the month for romance, but travelers to Ambergris Caye will quickly find that El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro takes precedence over any other event on the island (even the lovey-mushy stuff). This year, the long-standing island tradition will kick off from February 10th through the 14th and is usually celebrated to signal the start of the Lenten season (Lent). When it comes to an island with huge personality and character, Ambergris Caye is among the top ten islands in the world. Can you picture men in drag dancing in the streets? How about fully-donned groups performing skits for carnival goers? Or do you fancy a good old paint war? These are all the elements that make up El Gran Carnaval, making February an ideal time to travel to Belize! What is El Gran Carnaval? This traditional festival derives from the Mestizo culture over a hundred and fifty years ago, brought down from Northern Belize. The carnival is centered on a character named Juan Carnaval. History depicts that Juan was a rich man who loved to party and was known for breaking hearts of women he came across, with whom he had several children. History also suggests that […]

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Garifuna Settlement Day: What is It?

Of the many reasons as to why November is the ideal month to vacation in Belize, the country’s observance of Garifuna Settlement Day and the celebration of American Thanksgiving tops the list. While both holidays are incomparable and individually unique, one thing is true; both occasions celebrate diverse identities and rich cultural history. If you find yourself vacationing in Belize in this particular month, be sure to bring along your dancing shoes and an open mind; November at premiere tourist destinations across Belize is annually a big deal. Let us tell you why: On a local scale, the nation of Belize celebrates its diverse identity with the observance of Garifuna Settlement Day every November 19th. As history has it, the Garinagu people, who have contributed significantly to the antiquity of Belize, arrived and settled in British Honduras (now known as Belize) and along Central American territories in the early 1800’s. Over the next century, the population inter-mixed with settlements of Carib Indians and fused into a single culture called “Garinagu” (or “Black Caribs”). Around the 1800’s, the Garinagus were a dominant population in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but European politics began to exert its influence throughout the Caribbean. A series of […]

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