Garifuna Settlement Day
For the small but influential Garifuna culture in Belize, the most important day of the year is November 19. This is when the entire country celebrates Garifuna Settlement Day in honor of the arrival of the Garifuna people on the shores of Belize more than 200 years ago. The dramatic arrival of the Garifuna by dug-out canoe after being harried across the Caribbean by British forces is re-enacted every year in Dangriga and other Garifuna communities across Belize at dawn on November 19.
The entire country turns out for Garifuna Settlement Day in a flurry of parades, drumming, dancing, prayers, musical concerts, a special Garifuna mass, and the selection of Miss Garifuna. Women will dress in colorful traditional costumes while men don masks and beads to perform dances, recite poems, and otherwise celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Garifuna people.
First celebrated in 1943 as a regional holiday where the Garifuna people live, November 19 was officially designated as a national holiday throughout the country in 1977. Today, Garifuna Settlement Day is a very popular holiday with both locals and international visitors alike.
Roam Belize is a locally-owned and operated company headquartered in Dangriga, the capital culture of the Garifuna where all of the action takes place on the holiday. Roam Belize can arrange for private vehicle rentals, private car transfers, shuttle service, guided tours, and accommodations in Dangriga and throughout the country. Roam Belize can help plan the perfect itinerary for an unforgettable vacation.