Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Celebration 2015

garifuna people of belize

Celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize

It says a lot about the character and values of a nation that is willing and eager to give refugees a place to put down roots, and if you’d like a superior model of this sort of generosity, you have only to turn to Belize.

One of the great melting pots of the Western Hemisphere, where English remains the primary language, Belize’s mix of cultures, heritages and people from all corners of the globe is unique, which is why it’s not surprising that the nation opens its arms to visitors and residents alike when November 19th rolls around each year. On this date, Garifuna Settlement Day gives everyone a national holiday. On this day, every Belizean and non-Belizean becomes a member of the greater Garifuna family for a day.

Are you heading to Belize in the near future? If it’s really soon, you won’t miss a minute of the party, but before you start dancing, you may wish to know how this tradition became so established, it was made a national holiday that kicks off year-end celebrations even before Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are on the horizon. In 1802, British colonizers literally banished the Garifuna people from their island home in the Caribbean, and were it not for the fortitude and bravery of the first refugees, they might not have survived the voyage to Belize.

To mark the day, nothing but a full re-enactment of that beach landing will do. But before celebrants show up at the beach to watch the historic moment repeat itself, south Belize has already begun to stage a festival in the early morning hours that ushers in (literally) 24 hours of non-stop partying. No fancy dress required. No ticket necessary. You just show up at any of the hotspots known for being epicenters of the traditional celebration on November 19th and plan to eat, drink, indulge your inner dancer and join merrymakers.

If the idea of getting to Belize, finding accommodations and making your way to the celebratory events staged at Dangriga (the undisputed Garifuna cultural hub) intimidates you, we’d like to suggest turning to a Belize resource happy to sort things for you so the only decision you’ll be required to make will be how much to drink and eat! Break Away Travel specializes in customizing Settlement Day arrangements for visitors, down to in-country transport and nearby accommodations.

“Whether you plan to attend Garifuna Settlement Day in 2015 or you will wait until 2016, put yourself into the hands of our Break Away Travel team members,” says Efren Perez, owner of the business. His staff is trained to take a unique approach to scheduling that starts with finding out what clients love and what they dislike, so tour, lodging, dining and entertainment experiences turn ordinary vacations into extraordinary ones. Given this philosophy, you can relax, settle in and enjoy every aspect of Garifuna Settlement Day in a nation that knows no strangers. If you love tradition, music and fun, you’ll love this holiday, so hurry down. It won’t be a party without you!


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