Belize has a plethora of cultures and nationalities amongst its beautiful people who have been voted as one of the friendliest on the planet. Over the last 100 years, various ethnic groups have been created in the country. Today, visitors to Belize can find peoples of different ethnicities such as the Creole, Mestizo, Mennonites, Maya, Chinese, Lebanese, East-Indians and the Garifuna.
In this article, we will be highlighting the Garifuna, a unique and resilient group of people who are of both African and indigenous ancestry. The story of the Garifuna people is very interesting as it is filled with strength, faith, and pride.
The Garifuna people and culture predominantly originated on the island of St. Vincent in the West Indies resulting from unions between African slaves and indigenous people already there on the island (mainly the native Carib and Arawak).
According to historians, around 1635 two Spanish ships carrying West Africans destined for North America were shipwrecked near the coast St. Vincent. Over the next 150 years, the African slaves that survived the shipwreck began intermarrying the native people of the island, and, as a result, the Garifuna ethnic group was formed.
Exiled to the Island of Roatan, Honduras in 1798 because of European politics in the Caribbean region, the Garifuna people then began migrating to mainland Honduras and then along the coast of British Honduras (now Belize), Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
Historians believe that the first Garifuna arrived in Belize on November 19, 1802. November 19th is now a national holiday in Belize and is celebrated with live drumming, dancing, and pageantry especially in Garifuna communities like Dangriga, Punta Gorga, Hopkins, and Barranco.
In 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the Garifuna language, music, and dance as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. According to UNESCO, this designation means that it is an important culture that should be preserved, promoted and celebrated.
In Belize, the Garifuna culture is being preserved through music, dance, storytelling, language, traditional foods, clothing, art, and handicrafts.
If you are interested in learning more about this thriving and beautiful group of people in 2021, you can book a Garifuna Cultural Experience Tour with Barefoot Rentals and Services. Barefoot is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in renting a car or booking a tour in the country.
Whether you are interested in exploring ancient Maya pyramids or scuba diving on the barrier reef, Barefoot can help you plan your tours and activities when you vacation in Belize.
Contact Barefoot Rentals and Services today to learn more about Belize and why you should visit in 2021.