Home Community and Society Garifuna Settlement Day celebrated on the island

Garifuna Settlement Day celebrated on the island

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Garifuna Settlement Day celebrated on the island

The Garifuna community of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye joined the national Garifuna Settlement Day celebration over the weekend with parades, an all-night concert, and the traditional Yurumein, which is the re-enactment of the arrival of the Garinagu people to Belize in 1832. The annual public and bank holiday, celebrated on November 19th, was observed this year under the theme ‘Wаmúа, wаnісhіgu lubá ámuñеgü: óundаrunі hаmа nіburеіntіаn lun lаbаgаrіdu Gаrіfunа – Оur lаnd, оur сulturе, оur futurе: involving our уоuth fоr Gаrіfunа ѕurvіvаl.”

The festivities leading to November 19th started early in the week with nightly drumming sessions at primary schools and Central Park. On Saturday, November 18th, a parade took over the main streets of San Pedro, ending at the Boca del Rio beach park for an all-night cultural celebration. Those in attendance were delighted with the Garifuna music provided by drummers and Deejays.
The re-enactment occurred at dawn, representing the Garifuna people arriving on the shores in boats. Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez and Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez joined the traditional event as the Yurumein that ended at the central park. Drumming and dancing continued, followed by a San Pedro Roman Catholic Church mass.

Later in the day, festivities continued at the Boca del Rio beach park with traditional Garifuna food available for purchase. Garifuna delicacies included Hudut, Tapou, Sahou, and, of course, delicious rice and beans. The annual celebration, Garifuna Settlement Day, is observed countrywide, with the main festivities in the southern Dangriga Town, Stann Creek District. The holiday is commemorated with large parades, street performances, and non-stop traditional dancing and singing, attracting thousands of Belizeans and visitors alike.

The Garifuna people arrived in Belize in 1832 after being expelled from their native St. Vincent in the Caribbean. Their cultural contribution to Belize is well appreciated. Since 1977, under the leadership of the late Premier, the Right Honourable George Price, November 19th has been a public and bank holiday honoring their arrival to the country. The San Pedro Branch of the National Garifuna Council in San Pedro thanked everyone for supporting the activities this year, with special recognition to the San Pedro Town Council and Area Representative, the Honourable Andre Perez.

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