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Dec 4, 2002

Curtains and marley: a Belizean tradition

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They are as Belizean as rice and beans; as Christmassy as Santa Claus. And you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

With Christmas just three weeks away, business on Albert Street is brisk. And when it comes to home improvement projects, Belizeans are going the whole nine yards…especially when it comes to curtains and marley.

Picking from this plethora of colours is crucial, after all you do have to live with them for a whole year…and customers aren’t afraid to go the distance.

Ismail Mahung, Mikado Salesman

“A lot of people come and buy now. Not only from Belize City, especially Belize City, Orange Walk, Corozal Dangriga all over the place, in this country they come and buy at Mikado’s.”

Janelle Chanona

“You come all the way from Belmopan to buy curtain?”

Yoli Rodriguez, Curtain Buyer

“Yes, I do.”

Janelle Chanona

“Why you come all the way to Belize City?”

Yoli Rodriguez

“They have beautiful curtains and they have the quantity that I need.”

Janelle Chanona

“You buying for your whole house?”

Yoli Rodriguez

“Yes I do.”

Janelle Chanona

“Why you need so many curtains?”

Yoli Rodriguez

“So that it can be decorated well and beautiful.”

Sofia Novelo, Mikado Saleswoman

“Right now for the Christmas, we have them at 3.99 a yard and these are selling very fast right now, cause these are on sale.”

Janelle Chanona

“Why you think people always change curtains at Christmas?”

Sofia Novelo

“Because it’s a very special occasion.”

Special and sometimes pricey. But saleswoman Sofia Novelo says there are ways to beat the system.

Sofia Novelo

“It depends on who sew them it bring out the fabric. So it doesn’t matter on the price, it matter how they sew it and how you design your materials.”

And sticking to your decorating design is a must.

Marian Henkis, Hofius Saleswoman

“I think it goes by colour coordinated, every de look fu match up with they colours so it no really matter any style as long as the colour match with them or whatever they want to do their house.”

Janelle Chanona

“Does the price matter?”

Marian Henkis

“To some yes, and to some no, cause it still sell.”

Another big sell at Christmas is vinyl floor covering or marley.

Ionie and Denzil Wright

“This is our first buy…marley.”

Janelle Chanona

“Has this been a Belizean tradition for you all?”

Ionie Wright

“Yeah, from I was that, but they used to call it linoleum but now they call it marley.”

Janelle Chanona

“Why do you think it’s important to have new marley at Christmas?”

Ionie Wright

“Well the tradition is very good.”

Denzil Wright

“It makes the house look bright, better, improvement.”

Samuel Bailey, Hofius Salesman

“They like cheap marley they like it cheap because once it’s expensive, they no wah buy it, once it’s good price, they buy.”

“People like they house pretty and like dress they house, they like new marley fu match their wall and they curtain.”

Douglas Hyde, Upholstery Buyer

“It’s tradition, a tradition I grew up with.”

Janelle Chanona

“You know how it started, the meaning behind it?”

Douglas Hyde

“No, no, I have no idea.”

Janelle Chanona

“Is it expensive to change your furnishing covers every year?”

Douglas Hyde

“At this time of the year, you mek allowance fu that.”

And despite varied budgets this season, you can bet your bottom dollar many Belizeans will be making those kinds of allowances in the spirit of the season.

In case you are wondering where the name “Marley” came from, we are informed that it is a brand name for an English floor covering that was popular here in days gone by.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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