November 19th is a national holiday in Belize celebrating the initial landing of the Garifuna people on the shores of our country. They brought with them an amazing culture, music, religion, language, FOOD…the Garifuna culture has been recognized by UNESCO as a cultural masterpiece.
The history of the Garifuna people – descendants of African slaves and Carib Indians making their way from St Vincent to Honduras and Belize – is incredibly interesting. In a “normal” year – Garifuna communities across Belize would re-enact this dawn arrival on the shores of Belize but this year? Well…social gatherings are limited to 10…
So here are some pictures from previous years – celebrations that I attended in Hopkins and Dangriga and Punta Gorda — OH PUNTA GORDA! It’s the only place where I’ve heard Garifuna spoken in the streets. And Maya Ketchi too.
Dawn in Punta Gorda, 2013 at the “Wisdom Tree”
The parade finishes in a church with a service in the Garifuna language. It’s incredibly moving.
This photo by Tony Rath always knocks my socks off – he is an amazing photographer and lives in Dangriga, the cultural capital of Belize.
So I had to see it myself. And it’s AS AMAZING as his picture in person. I traveled to Hopkins and Dangriga in 2016 to take part in the festivities. Just GORGEOUS! Right?
Usually in San Pedro – there is a pagaent and kids dress for school in Cultural Costumes – LOOK AT THIS KIDS BELOW from a few years back…
A day of parties and celebrations. But not this year.
One of my favorite pictures…from a crazy night in Belmopan where I went to see Prince Harry. I wish I had taken it…but no. (Here’s my experience.)
The Prince dancing with a Garifuna lady.
And though not on the holiday, I still love this picture of this woman serving an impromptu guest some homemade Garifuna food in Dangriga.
It’s a rainy day as Hurricane Iota dies out.. What a TOUGH year for the Garifuna coast of Central America…Honduras and Nicaragua and Guatemala.
If anything can make someone feel a wee bit better…it’s listening to the late GREAT artist, Andy Palacio from Belize and one of my favorite songs ever – Watina.
If you EVER have a chance to hear his group, The Garifuna Collective perform – they travel around the world – DO IT. It’s an amazing experince.