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Sep 20, 2022

Celebrating Maya Mopan Cultural Consciousness

Today was celebrated as Maya Mopan Cultural Consciousness Day at the National Library Service.  This morning, several classrooms of primary school students from across the city visited the Leo Bradley Library where they were given a brief social studies lesson on the traditions, as well as the food, language and culture of the Mopan Maya.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Forced out of Belize in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Mopan people are an indigenous, sub-ethnic group of the Maya.  As of the 2010 census, they only made up three percent of the country’s population.  Today, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, through the National Library Service, presented Maya Mopan Cultural Consciousness.


Leroy Green

Leroy Green, Chairman, National Library Service

“Today is called Children’s Culture Consciousness Day.  Last year, Minister Francis Fonseca said to me as the chairman of the National Library Service board, he would like the libraries to become cultural hubs and last year, for the first time, we tried it right here at the Leo Bradley where we showcased the Creole and I am pleased to say that today is the exact anniversary of that day.  And it is so good that it is pre-Independence.”


It’s a brief showcase of food, language and culture.


Georgina Cal

Georgina Cal, Presenter

“In our Mopan, we always use corn. Corn that is planted by men our husband.  Our husbands like to plant corn. There are different colors of corn. We have yellow, we have the black corn and we have the red corn the white one. But we are the ones who like to use the yellow and white. The black corn, we don’t use it everyday or every time, but the regular one is white and yellow.  With our own corn, we do our tamales; we do our kasham, that’s how they call it in English.”


The importance of maize, as a staple in the Maya diet, was highlighted in story form during a presentation made before an audience of children from various primary schools across Belize City.


Elbert Cal

Elbert Cal, Presenter

“In the beginning there was no corn. Our ancestors saw that there was nothing to eat and nothing to drink.  What came into their minds was to do a ceremony, a prayer.  So they prayed to the mountains and they prayed to the valleys and even to the Rain God, Cha’ac, the master. So now they do everything properly, because everything has to be properly made. You can’t do anything wrong.  And now, they went to the Rain God, Cha’ac and they said, “Rain God, Cha’ac, we are here to ask you for food.”


Perhaps the best analogy to describe the oneness of the Belizean people, despite their racial and ethnic diversities, is a poem recited in Mopan by a trio of girls that was translated into English.


Aleron Cal

Aleron Cal, Presenter

“When I see you, I see one people.  Whether white or black or brown or red, I see Belize. Like the colors of the corn, it may be different but from the same origin.  That is what we are as Belizeans. From proud Rio Hondo to Old Sarstoon, we are proud to be of multiple ethnicity and together we call Belize our homeland by the sea.”


Isani Cayetano for News Five.

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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