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Nov 17, 2011

Children’s Rally for Garifuna Settlement Day

It’s one of the most anticipated holidays in the Belizean calendar; the nineteenth of November pays homage to the arrival of the Garinagu people in Belize. While the celebrations have kicked off in Garifuna communities in the south, the primary school students of the city on Wednesday showed off their cultural side with a number of presentations to foster deeper cultural appreciation. News Five’s Andrea Polanco caught in the Garifuna Settlement Day fever.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

With Garifuna Settlement Day a drumbeat away, today the House of Culture was the grounds to a cultural celebration. Over three hundred primary school students participated in the annual National Garifuna Children’s Rally. The NGC says that events like these helps to increase awareness which ensures cultural survival:

Marietta Enriquez, Secretary, National Garifuna Council

Marietta Enriquez

“Okay, this event is held yearly. This is the eleventh year. It’s a children’s school rally we are having here today to develop a sense of cultural awareness within the Belizean community and the school children. We have schools participating from the different schools within the Belize City area. We have thirteen schools participating today. One objective of this rally here today; we talk about nurturing of our culture. We talk about application of our culture. As I said today we are seeing a wide cross-section of different ethnic groups performing in our culture today. As I’ve said we’ve seen acceptance of this in the community.”

With drums beating and maracas shaking, dressed in Garifuna outfits, the participants displayed the Garifuna culture through drama, dance and singing. And while the presentations were fun and entertaining, Enriquez says they have strong traditional value:

Marietta Enriquez

“They took over the whole activity from the national item, the prayer, you saw dances, there were individual presentations; you had jankunu on stage and all those. The National Garifuna Council as you know people think that we are just here to just celebrate and just have dances and nothing else. But there is much more to culture. They get a sense of education; we educate them in other areas. So the culture has more than just dances. We have the spiritual aspect of it.”

And if today is anything like we’ll see over the weekend, then you need to get ready for this nineteenth of November because celebrations will start from Friday in the old capital:

Marietta Enriquez

“Oh yes and much more to this. We have the eighteenth night activity whereby we’ll have all night drumming at Memorial Park. We also have the reenactment on the nineteenth morning; that will take place at Belcan Bridge at seven a.m. in the morning. From there we go to St. Martin’s Church and from there we have the parade to the Memorial Park back again and we have all day drumming. We have acing contest for the kids, we have traditional Punta as well and we have a language contest also.”

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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