More celebration time for Belize as we look forward to Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19th! The Gariganu (name used to refer to the people) have a distinctive culture that combines flavour, rhythm, and history into one unique package.
The emergence of this culture began when two Spanish ships carrying slaves from Nigeria wrecked around the island of St. Vincent in 1635. Amidst the chaos, the Nigerian slaves swam towards the shore where they encountered the island's Carib Indian residents and eventually began intermixing to form a new society– the Black Caribs, or most commonly called Gariganu. However, in 1793 they were exiled from the island as a result of conflicts between French and English counterparts.
The Gariganu found residence in Roatan, Honduras; however, this settlement was short-lived as they were expelled once again by European conflict. It was this moment that marked the beginning of Garifuna culture in Belize as they are believed to have settled into former British Honduras on November 19th 1832.
Since then, the Garifuna culture has remained one of Belize’s precious ethnic groups with a language that maintains Arawak and Amerindian elements; a religion deeply connected to their ancestors; colourful and lively works of art that portray Garifuna lifestyle; outstanding music and dance (known as Punta) characterized by hip-thrusting moves, drums, rattles, and even conch-shell trumpets; and last but not least, traditional cuisine based on hearty foods like cassava, fish, and plantains.
Speaking about food, why don’t you indulge yourself with a traditional Garifuna meal?! Try out this month’s special Sere and Hudut Recipe – an overly delicious fish stew cooked in a creamy coconut milk base. Way too good!