Ambergris Caye celebrates Garifuna Settlement Day

Monday, November 21st, 2016

On Saturday, November 19th, Ambergris Caye joined the countrywide celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day. Under the theme ‘Risiti, Pantati, Gabafuti, Funrahova, meme la (English: Rich, proud, and powerful, let us continue to preserve it) the local branch of the National Garifuna Council (NGC) San Pedro branch held several activities ranging from cultural presentations and drumming, to the re-enactment of the arrival of the Garifuna people to Belize.garifuna-settlement-day-2016-san-pedro-1
This year's island activities started on Friday, November 18th. People gathered at the Central Park shortly after 8:30PM to observe the festivities.garifuna-settlement-day-2016-san-pedro-12
During a short ceremony, President of the NGC Alex Noralez welcomed everyone to the event and thanked them for their continued support. He invited all attendees to join in the celebration and enjoy the show. Mayor Guerrero also delivered a few words, expressing the town council’s support for the local Garifuna community, and wishing everyone a happy Garifuna Settlement Day.garifuna-settlement-day-2016-san-pedro-3
Immediately after, the audience was entertained with several dance presentations. Garifuna dancers delighted everyone with traditional Paranda, Chumba, Hunguhhunguh, Bow-le-le and Punta dances. A non-stop drumming session followed, which merged with the live performance of Caribbean Kings and Punta Boys. The crowd stayed to celebrate until the wee hours of the night, bringing in the 19th with much merriment and fun.garifuna-settlement-day-2016-san-pedro-26
Early in the morning of the 19th, the traditional ‘Yurumei’ took place; this is the re-enactment of the arrival of the Garifuna to Belize. The singing and drumming of the group could be heard clearly as they reached the beach via boats. Upon disembarking, the group marched towards to the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church for a mass of blessing. Shortly after, a parade took place through the main streets of San Pedro town. Many residents came out of their homes to take a look as the group paraded by singing and drumming.garifuna-settlement-day-2016-san-pedro-18
At 11AM traditional Garifuna food was available at the park for purchase. Many gathered to enjoy some delicious hudut, conch soup, tapou and even rice and beans. The celebration continued until late in the evening, when once again, Caribbean Kings and Punta Boys kept the music going and had everyone dancing.

This year marks the 214th anniversary of the arrival of the Garifuna people to the shores of Belize.
The San Pedro Branch of the NGC would like to thank everyone who contributed in any way for the success of the festivities this year. Special thanks go to Mayor Daniel Guerrero and The San Pedro Town Council, Eduardo Aguilar and Foreva Fancy, NGC Branch Council Members, Eiden Salazar, Reef Radio, Karen Brodie, and The San Pedro Sun.

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