Garifuna Celebration Day is in honour of the arrival of the first West African people on the island of St. Vincent when human Caro ships crashed on the shores around 1675. The Africans escaped slavery and started families with the local indigenous peoples, known as the Kalinago. After 150 years of living together, they formed the ethnic group now known as the Garifuna.
Legend has it that the first Garifuna arrived in British Honduras (now Belize) after being exiled from St. Vincent on November 19, 1802, and today is known as Garifuna Settlement Day. The celebrations last all week and involve re-enactments of the events that lead to the Garifuna Settlement including, boats arriving with sugar cane and other goods, parades, live music, drumming, dancing, and prayers.
November is a great time to visit Belize to take part in the celebrations and learn about Garifuna’s history. Be sure to try a traditional dish, traditional Garifuna dish, such as serre (fish boiled in coconut milk), hudut (mashed plantain).
Lastly, you can visit the Gulisi Garifuna Museum to learn more.