November: Garifuna Settlement Day

19 November

Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates the arrival of the first Garifuna in 1832, descendants of the Black Caribbeans who were first deported from St Vincent in 1797. The day showcases their rich, unique culture with music and a staging of the arrival by the first settlers at the port.

Processions, live music, drumming and traditional dancing are held throughout Belize, but especially in Dangriga, the spiritual home of the Garifuna, plus in Hopkins and Punta Gorda. The Garifuna flag is then raised throughout the country: a mix of yellow, white and black. Yellow represents the sun, white for peace and black is the color of the people. After the flag-raising there are cultural presentations and a series of official ceremonies.

The Garifuna language is still spoken in Belize and was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2009, along with Garifuna music and dance, adding to the county’s melting pot of diverse cultural treasures.