Garifuna Settlement Day

Today we are out of school. It is a national holiday called Garifuna Settlement Day which is apparently a fairly new holiday in Belize.  It celebrates the arrival of the Garifuna in Belize.

According to local lore, the Garifuna culture “commenced with a wrecked slave ship from the Bight of Biafra in 1675. The survivors, members of the Mokko people of today’s Nigeria, reached the small island of Bequia, where the Caribs brought them to Saint Vincent and intermarried with them by supplying the African men with wives as it was taboo in their society for men to go unwed.”

The Garifuna later migrated to the mainland and settled here and we celebrate that settlement.  There is some argument about where that migration actually took place, but there is a small celebration here in Belize City with other larger celebrations taking place elsewhere in Belize.

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The celebration began with a re-enactment of the arrival of the Garifuna on the mainland.  Now I don’t really know, but I’m pretty sure the original people did not arrive in a dory with an 85 hp Yamaha outboard and disembark at the Save U parking lot, but that’s the way it happened today.

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There was a small parade from the Save U down to St. Martins Church where there were official ceremonies.  I did not go to the ceremonies.

This afternoon there is to be an expo with traditional foods and crafts at the ITvet campus. If the rain lets up, I may go.

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