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Nov 14, 2017

How to Celebrate the 19th in Belize City

It is mostly coincidental, but today’s book launch does line up with the run-in of activities leading up to Garifuna Settlement Day this coming weekend. Garinagu in Belize and elsewhere are marking the 1832 arrival of a significant Garifuna population to Belize, fleeing oppression in their native St. Vincent and Honduras.  In Belize City and across the country, Garifuna and others solemnly observe three traditional pillars of the holiday since its start in 1941 by Thomas Vincent Ramos: the re-enactment of the first arrival of the Garinagu to Belize, also known as the Yurumein; the church service, traditionally held at a Roman Catholic Church and re-affirming Garifuna spirituality, and the parade and official ceremony. Here’s what City residents can expect this weekend, which actually starts on Friday at the Mexican Institute.


Sebastian Cayetano

Sebastian Cayetano, Garifuna Elder

“We begin with the theme for this year’s celebration. The theme is “Lidan Nei Uarani Awanseruni… Mabuleida Wamei (Progress lies in unity; let us never forget).” Always remember, progress lies in unity. As we approach the nineteenth of November, Friday night, it’s going to be a big thing where we all meet, all are invited over to the Mexican Institute of culture where National Garifuna Council, Belize City Branch, will offer some awards to well-deserving awardees. We’ll also have the drums, the dances there. This is a combination of the Mexicans and Belizean Garinagu working together. So that’s going to be on Friday beginning at seven o’clock, p.m. Also during the day we hope to have a food fest at the Mexican Institute of Culture, all day, beginning from ten o’clock in the morning. Then on Saturday, there’s going to be drumming all over the place, most likely the drumming will be at B.T.L. Park to bring in the nineteenth. And then in the morning, we’re going to observe the nineteenth this year on Sunday, so the Yurumein will come in at about six to be at St. Martin’s Church for seven o’clock in the morning for our Thanksgiving Mass at St. Martin’s, for Thanksgiving. The Yurumein, the re-enactment, should take place at Belcan Bridge in the morning at about six o’clock Sunday morning. Then after the mass at St. Martin’s then the parade will lead to B.T.L. Park for the official ceremony there beginning at about ten o’clock in the morning. And then there will be all day drumming and dancing and lots of Garifuna food on sale. The Luba Garifuna Museum will also have Garifuna foods on sale.”


After appearing at back-to-back ceremonies in Dangriga in the past two years, Prime Minister Dean Barrow is expected to address ceremonies here in Belize City, which are considered the official national ceremony. This rotates annually among the four major Garifuna population centers – Belize City, Dangriga, Belmopan and Punta Gorda.

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