Garifuna People of Belize

Belize is very diverse and unique country in ethnicities and cultures. Each one is unique with its own history and story of how they can call this land its home.

One of these very unique cultures who call Belize their home is the Garifuna people. You can find Garifuna people in other places in Central America like in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and various Islands in the Caribbean as well. However some of the largest populations of Garifuna people live here in Belize.

The story of the Garifuna starts far from Belize. St. Vincent located in the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean is where two Spanish ships carrying Nigerian slaves sank off the coast. Those who survived swam to the shores where they found Carib Indian settlements. This was the birthing of a new race of people.

These two cultures intermarried and intermixed into the Black Caribs. During that time a war between the British and the French along with their Carib allies were forced leave the Island. The British took the Caribs to the coast of Honduras, but another war took place against the Spanish that forced them to flee once again.

On November 19th 1802 is when the first Garifuna came to the shores of then called British Honduras, which is now called Belize. Most of that migration came into the southern parts of Belize like Dangriga, Punta Gorda, the villages of Barranco and Punta Negra.

This day is celebrated in Belize, known as Garifuna settlement day on every 19th of November. During this holiday Belize is filled with the sounds of handmade drums made of various woods of mahogany or cedar stretched with animal skins beating to the sounds of Garifuna music.

Garifuna dancers in Dangriga, Belize

The Garifuna traditional colors are yellow, back, and white. It is a very festive time with people dressed in Garifuna attire. Women often wear dresses sewn from checkered material along with head pieces.

At this time people cook their favorite Garifuna meals. Some of the name of these dishes are Hu-dut or Seree. These are soups that are rich in taste and health. These foods consist of coconut milk, banana, plantain, cassava which give these dishes it’s own unique Caribbean flavor.

The Garifuna people is one of the reasons why Belize is so rich in diversity and culture. Come and experience the adventure.

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