Hello Sirenian Bay friends!
The holiday season is well underway here in picture-perfect Belize, and it’s showing no signs of slowing! Next up on our unbelizeable list of celebrations is Garifuna Settlement Day, held on November 19 each year. This day commemorates the journey of the Garifuna people to Belize’s tropical shores.
Not familiar with the Garifuna? They’re descendants of African slaves who intermarried into the Caribbean Carib and Arawak cultures. After a series of rebellions against the British, they made their way from St. Vincent to Honduras and finally Belize in 1802. That’s quite a journey to make in dugout canoes!
Belize’s Garifuna have contributed a huge amount to our culture. Enough to receive a UNESCO designation, in fact! Think cuisine like cassava bread; hudut, a fish stew; and darasa, plantain-based tamales. The Garifuna language, with influences from Arawak, Carib, French and English. And of course traditional Garifuna music and dancing. In addition to producing genres like punta and punta rock, the Garifuna are renowned for their African-infused drumming traditions.
If you haven’t had a chance to experience Garifuna culture up close, Garifuna Settlement Day is the perfect opportunity. Set your alarm clock for dawn, because that’s when the festivities begin. You’ll marvel at re-enactments of the Garifuna arrival, complete with traditional attire, canoes, palm fronds and banana leaves. Stick around for the flag raising, where the Garifuna flag flies high in celebration of sun, peace and the Garifuna people. After that you’ll party it up against a backdrop of traditional drumming, dancing and music. There’ll be parades, games, food and plenty of fun in the sun.
The most breath-taking celebrations take place in areas with large Garifuna populations – and luckily for us, that’s just up the road! The Village of Seine Bight is a Garifuna settlement located between the Resort and Placencia. Two other villages – Hopking and Dangriga are just a short drive away. If you have a little more time to spare, you can also drive about two and a half hours south to Punta Gorda, the famed “gateway” to Guatemala.
Have a free spot in your calendar coming up? Come visit us at Sirenian Bay Resort & Villas – and enjoy the festivities!