Wanaragua also known as John Kunnu, this masked dance was once performed throughout the Caribbean at Christmas time, one of the few events during the year when slaves were free to dance and party for an extended period of time. Dressed with fanciful headdresses, knee rattles, and in whiteface, John Kunnu dancers would visit the houses of their master and receive foods and drinks in return for riotous entertainment.
In Belize and other areas of the Garifuna domain, parties of John Kunnu dancers roam from houseyard to houseyard, collecting payments during the Christmas season. Wanaragua masks were once made of basketry but are now cleverly constructed of metal screen and painted with a stylish face.
Inside the ring of onlookers is a loose circle of dancers awaiting their individual turns to perform, beginning with the youngest. With forearms extended, the incessant hypnotic movement of the dancer's feet match the rhythm and pattern of the two drummers. But it is the dancer's movement that dictates the drummers' beat and not the other way around. Paying keen attention, the drummers know when to pause, when to change the rhythm, and how to keep the flow. Each dancer brings his own unique style and flavor so the dancing is not repetitious. Audience participation and approval is sought with displays of grace, trademark moves and the occasional comical gestures.