A Beautiful Morning for The Garifuna Landing, Music and Dancing in Punta Gorda, Belize

Today is a holiday in Belize –  Garifuna Settlement Day to commemorate the landing of the Garifuna people in Belize.  This morning we woke up EARLY to join the dawn re-enactment and parade to the Catholic church in Punta Gorda.

It was pretty special.  Here are my pictures.

We arrived JUST after this happened so I asked a PG resident, Craig, to use his photo.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  Now I need to come back!  The Garifuna people landing with samples of the crops that they thought they might need when they arrived in Belize…cassava, sugar cane, bananas…


A bit later in the morning.  Apparently this tree is called The Wisdom Tree in PG.  Since the reef is quite far away here, the water is calm and beautiful in the morning.   Last night it was also flat as a pancake.



After asking for permission to land, the Garifuna people (and really anyone that wanted to participate and celebrate) paraded to the church.  The drums and the music were non-stop.IMG_5009


Many of the ladies and men were in traditional dress.


The queen of the day.


Our friend Marie.  Now living in Atlanta, she has a brother (Francois) in San Pedro, Belize and was looking beautiful for the celebrations.  Punta Gorda is quite a small town and compared to San Pedro?  There are very few tourists.  Not only do you meet people from San Pedro (I ran into a guy who works at Exotic Caye in San Pedro and my friend who did a tax audit on me for General Sales Tax) but the whole town seems very friendly and welcoming.

You can feel the amazing sense of community.

IMG_5024This crew was serious about their 6am cocktails.  Screw Drivers, Rum Punch, Cran Barrel…


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The nuns waiting for the people to enter the church.IMG_5042

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The procession into the church.

IMG_5064 IMG_5072And the mass in Garifuna with beautiful music.


For a mass from a Garifuna priest in the native language.  Beautiful hyms, flag waving…I’m so glad this language is being used.

I loved this experience…and am REALLY glad I’m in Punta Gorda for this time of the year.  And I’m so happy to be here.  Period.  It really is a whole different world from the north of the country and especially from San Pedro.  The culture, the music, the people, the food, the landscape, the wild life, the chocolate, the crafts…I have LOTS more to tell you about Punta Gorda, Belize.

And, for some, the party has only just started.  I met quite a few people that said they were headed to Livingston, Guatemala…not far away…for next week’s Garifuna holiday there.  I’m almost tempted…