Reenact Garifuna festival on Banquitas House of Culture of Belize

As “Garifuna Settlement Day” coming, where will you celebrate on this weekend ?  Let’s make a brief historical retrospect. During the 17th  century ,the Garifuna, a hybrid group whose forebears came from Africa and Amazonia, have no heritage of slavery, managed to escape or were shipwrecked off the coast of Dominica or St. Vincent in the Lesser Antilles probably.

They quickly adopted most of the culture of the Carib Indians, themselves fairly recent immigrants from the tropical forests of South America. In time they intermarried with the Carib Indians and since 1797 they were forcibly removed from St. Vincent by the British, politically and economically they were one people.

Many Garifuna left Honduras and settled in Dangriga of Belize after a civil war of Honduras in 1832. The first celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize is on November 19thof 1941. The distinctive culture of the Garifuna was based on a language unknown to any but themselves, facilitated their adaptation to the new environment.  Every year of Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize, people reenact “The Landing” with plentiful music and enthusiastic dance by slipping out to sea in boats, then the surf onto shore, waving palm fronds and banana leaves to symbolize cassava that sustained their ancestors.

This year House of Culture is collaborating with the Orange Walk Town Council and Mr. Denney Grijalva to commemorate the arrival of the Garifunas to Belize in celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19th, 2012. The event is taking place in front of Banquitas House of Culture on Main Street.  The day will commence at 12:00 pm with traditional food on sale such as the famous Hudut which is fish stew made with coconuts, onions, garlic, and thyme and is usually served with mash plantains. There will also be live Garifuna drumming dance presentations by the Ugundani Dance Group of Belize City from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. One of the dances that are most look forward to witness is Wanaragua also known as “John Canoe”. The famous John Canoe dance is normally performed during the Christmas season or for a local village carnival. The dance displayed the skills of warrior-slaves while mocking their British overseers. Hugu-Hugu, Punta will also be performed amongst others. There will also be live Punta music by our very own Youth Connection Band as of 5:00 p.m leading us to midnight. You are always invited .  More information http://www.facebook.com/Banquitas .

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