The Drums of our Fathers Monument
Designed by local sculptor Steve Okeke, the Drums of Our Fathers monument is a visual masterpiece that showcases the importance of drumming and music to the Garifuna culture. The monument features three ritual dugu drums and two sisiras (maracas), musical instruments that are emblematic of Garifuna music.
Why You Have to Visit the Drums of our Fathers Monument On Your Vacation
Although they compose just 4% of Belize’s population, the Garifuna people are a unique culture that are well-known for their unique musical influences, including drumming. Formed from an intermarriage of African slaves and native islanders of the Caribbean, the Garifuna arrived in Belize more than 200 years ago after being exiled by the British.
The town of Dangriga where the monument is located is the epicenter of Belize’s Garifuna culture, and the monument is a visually-imposing tribute to the rich musical heritage of the Garifuna.
The three large dugu drums in the monument represent the past, present, and the future. The center drum is known as a lanigi garawound or “heart drum”, representing the present and the lead drum that calls the rhythm for the other two. The sisira or maracas are used in Garifuna music as a “spirit helper” to bridge the gap between the ordinary world and the spirit world.
There is a large circle in the center of the monument that represents the journey of life that every human makes. The circle is divided into the four cardinal points and represents Garifuna cosmology, a map of the universe.
Where in Belize Is the Drums of our Fathers Monument Located?
The monument is located in the primary traffic circle on the main road that enters the town of Dangriga from the south in Stann Creek District, Belize.
When Is the Best Time to Visit the Drums of our Fathers Monument
Although the monument can be seen year-round, the best time to visit is on November 19, the national holiday of Garifuna Settlement Day when the monument becomes a focal point for joyous celebrations of Garifuna culture, music, food, and history.
Best Way to Get to the Drums of our Fathers Monument
The monument in the center of the main road leading into the town of Dangriga. It can be easily reached on foot from most locations in the town center. From the main bus station, head south to the first traffic circle.
Best Way to Experience the Drums of our Fathers Monument
Visiting the monument is a great way to introduce yourself to the significance of music and musical instruments to the Garifuna people. On important occasions, the monument is the center of Garifuna ceremonies and festivities.