Nestled in what is now the heart of Downtown Belize City is the historic site of Eboe Town. The area was home to several enslaved African populations, including the Igbo Tribe (Nigeria). Eboe Town residents worked most of the year as laborers in mahogany camps located further inland. It is estimated that as many as 200 mahogany laborers resided in Eboe Town in the 17th and 18th centuries. While British settlers and slave owners resided along the coast, the residents of Eboe Town resided in thatch-roofed structures in the swampy areas. They would return in December – a festive time to reunite, eat, drink, and celebrate with traditions such as the “Krismus Brukdong Bram.” In November 1819, Eboe Town was destroyed by fire. The area is today regarded as a historic place of memory in Belize City.
Eboe Town is often cited as one of the birthplaces of Creole culture. While the area was destroyed, the Creole culture endured for generations and continues to influence the everyday life of Belizeans. From food to language, customs, music, and dance, Creole culture is a pillar of Belize’s cultural mosaic and what makes the jewel a truly unique destination.
Emancipation Day at Eboe Town
On August 1, 2020, Belize observed Emancipation Day as a public and bank holiday to remember that monumental event in Caribbean history when enslaved Africans were freed from the bondage of forced labor. This year, locals will celebrate the resilience of their African ancestors with an Eboe Town Festival on July 31, 2023.
Tracing back to their roots in Eboe Town, the Yabra Green area of Belize City will transform into an immersive Creole experience with various activities, goodies, and performances. The Eboe Town Festival promotes preserving the Creole culture, showcasing talents from the upcoming generation. For instance, performing acts such as Bum N Chime 2nd Generation is direct lineage to the “Guardian of Brukdown,” Mr. Peters, the lead singer of Belize’s legendary Bum N Chime band. Drums Not Guns continues to teach Afro-Belizean music, following in the footsteps of their father and one of the Eboe Town Festival founders. Entertaining the audience is nationally renowned artist and pioneer of Belizean Kungo Brukdown music, Bredda David, backed by the Tribal Vibes band. Bredda David is also a founder of the Eboe Town Festival with the National Kriol Council, coining it as “a conscious seed of a festival” – sharing history and educating the masses about the Creole culture.
Satisfy your appetite with the delectable taste of Creole cuisines and desserts! Enjoy traditional delicacies such as boil up, cowfoot soup, and a local favorite, rice and beans, chicken, and potato salad. Leave room for sweet treats like kaasham (grind roasted corn and sugar), coconut crust, fudge, tableta, and fruit preserves. As the food settles, stroll to the various exhibition booths by the National Kriol Council and Institute of Social & Culture Research (ISCR). Cruise around Belize City for a guided tour from Yabra to the Museum of Belize to learn about Emancipation Day, enslavement in Belize, and Eboe Town. The day’s festival has so much in store for you to see, from the creation of drums, bamboo crafts, Titai weavers, and a large Emancipation Day sculpture on display. There will also be a youth football game, as sports are incorporated into celebrating Emancipation Day across the Caribbean.
Wherever you are on your Belize vacation, visit Belize City to experience this cultural celebration of the Creole Culture. It is an opportunity to learn the history of Eboe Town and have fun with Belizean Creole people!