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Why Belize City is place to be for Garifuna Settlement Day

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2019. 9:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belizeans, even from Belize City, are used to traveling South for Garifuna Settlement Day festivities.

While the Old Capital is home to one of the four largest Garinagu populations countrywide, many are originally from Dangriga, Hopkins, Seine Bight, Punta Gorda and Barranco to name a few.

Belize City Branch President of the National Garifuna Council (NGC), Nerisi Lopez, says it will do its best to outrank the other populations in putting on the best Garifuna Settlement Day activities leading up to November 19th.

At the formal launch held on Friday night, November 1st, Lopez told us she was pleased to partner with Lerisi Garifuna Restaurant, the City’s only Garifuna cuisine establishment, located on Marine Parade Boulevard on the Northside.

“We wanted people to know that Belize City Branch of the National Garifuna Council (NGC) have planned a month full of activities. And we are capitalizing on the fact that 19th falls on a Tuesday – who wants to travel on a Tuesday? So we don’t have to travel, and people who are not in Belize City, yes, you can travel – come to Belize City because we are having the activities here. And of course, no Garifuna Settlement Day celebration activities are complete without the drum, and where there is drums there is celebration,” Lopez explained.

This weekend sees a karaoke/uraga night at Lerisi, and a cultural night presented by the youth arm of the NGC at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) office at the corner of Freetown Road and St. Thomas Street. On November 9th there will be a Miss and Mister Yurumei, a pageant for mature Garinagu, at Lerisi.

The action picks up next Wednesday, November 13 with the local solidarity mass and tribute to Garifuna Settlement Day founder Thomas Vincent Ramos at St. Martin de Porres Church, and next Thursday, November 14 is Garifuna Awareness Day, with an education and culture fair featuring Garinagu health professionals at Lerisi. The Mexican Institute hosts a Garinagu exhibition and award ceremony on the 15th, and St. Martin’s third Sunday mass on the 17th.

Belize City welcomes Garifuna Settlement Day with a mega-concert on the 18th featuring many popular Garifuna artistes – Aurelio Martinez, C-Wills, Titiman Flores and Aziatic to name a few – starting at nine and going all night until Yurumein dawns the following morning. This is followed by the usual church service and procession back to Lerisi Garifuna Restaurant for the official ceremony and all day fair. In December, Garifuna cultural icon Andy Palacio will be honored on his birthday.

All events are free of cost.


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