How to celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day from home

    Every November 19, Belize celebrates what is known as Garifuna Settlement Day. As one of our many vibrant cultures, the Garifuna settled onto the shores of Belize on November 19, 1802. Since then, every year gearing up to the national holiday are week-long celebrations involving festive foods, Garifuna drumming and lots of dancing. If you’ve been lucky enough to witness either the re-enactment in Dangriga Town or participate in a drum filled beach dance-off, you know what it’s like to have all that pulsing energy surround you. While some have already made sure to book their flight just in time for Garifuna Settlement Day, here’s an alternative for those staying put. Check out this list of ways you can celebrate with us from home.

  1. Cook a traditional dish. Nothing says November 19 like a big, fresh bowl of Hudut. This coconut-based fish soup is a must on Garifuna Settlement Day, and while you may not have a giant mortar-and-pestle to mash those plantains the traditional way, we’re sure your dish will still come out delicious. Check out this recipe here.
  2. Practice your punta. The Garifuna culture holds many different dances, with different meanings, often paired with specific drum beats. If you plan to join in on your next Garifuna Settlement Day, make sure to practice some punta at home. Hint: it’s all in the hips! Check out a quick reference here.
  3. Listen on Spotify. Unbeknownst to many, you can find Garifuna artists on Spotify! Support local Belizean artists by adding their hits to your library, perfect to help you practice your punta dancing. Here’s a great playlist to give a listen.
  4. Practice your Garifuna.  Buiti Bunafi! That’s ‘good morning’ in Garifuna, a common greeting among Garinagus. Practice perfecting this simple phrase and many others, so when in any of the Garifuna-centered towns in Belize, you’ll be able to greet others, making their day.
  5. Virtual experience. When all else fails, immerse yourself virtually! Check out this vivacious performance from one of our local Garifuna groups as they display traditional dances and drumming. These performances are often mesmerizing, and while you may not be seeing it in person, watching it elicits almost the same effect. Here’s a short live performance a group in Hopkins was able to share with us.

For more information on the cultures in Belize, email us at [email protected] or call us toll-free at 1-800-624-0686.