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#414770 - 08/26/11 09:52 AM Firehearth Festival
Marty Offline

The fire is in the hearth

Natalie Palacio

Good old fashion fire hearth cooking is still preferred by many Belizeans. But in the era of butane stoves, fire hearths are now limited to villages and rural areas. This weekend the residents of Willows Bank want to go back to the basics with a Firehearth Festival, which features a cooking competition among the villages. It will be a full day of events for the entire family and transportation will be provided. The coordinators stopped by our studios today to share the details.

Natalie Palacio, Coordinator, Willows Bank Fire hearth Festival

“One of the major features of the festival is the fire hearth cooking competition, to be more specific the Roddler fire hearth cooking competition so named because the fire hearths are going to be built by Roddler Construction Company Limited. This competition is basically a challenge among the villages in that area. Basically we are trying to find out who is the better cook on the fire heart. Like if Willows bank says we have the best cook on the fire hearth, we are daring the other villages to challenge us. So it’s a challenge among the villages.”

Daphne McFadzean, Coordinator, Willows Bank Fire hearth Festival

“We have many other activities including volleyball competition, tug of war competition, coconut husking, coconut grating, beer drinking, watermelon eating, we have bouncy house for the kids, face painting. So a lot of different activities for the family.”

Delahnie Bain

“Can you give us the details of the date, time and place?”

Daphne McFadzean

“Okay, this happens Saturday the twenty-seventh in Willows Bank Village, small village off the Boom Road.”

Delahnie Bain

“And what time do the activities start?”

Daphne McFadzean

Daphne McFadzean

“We start at ten and by six o’clock we should be finished with all the activities and then we have a dance in the night as well. Transportation is available. We have a bus leaving Belize at ten in the morning and returning—leaving willows bank at six pm in the evening; going again at nine-thirty and then returning at two-thirty, three in the morning. The concept behind the willows bank fire hearth festival is highlight the role in forming our tradition. The fire hearth is very important in our tradition and it is something that is dying out. There are very few people who even look at a fire hearth or would even think about using a fire heath and because of this, a lot of us younger generation do not know anything about a fire hearth. And in these times when the cost of fuel and everything going up, we just might have to revert to fire hearth cooking but we don’t know anything about it.”

There’s only space for one more village team to sign up for the cooking competition and interested persons can call 660-1157 or 651-4678. Ingredients for the cook-off will be provided by Grace Kennedy Belize.

Channel 5

#414778 - 08/26/11 10:03 AM Re: Firehearth Festival [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Celebrating the Art and Science of The "Fiyahaawt"

We've heard about the many colorful festivals celebrated annually across the country, from cashew-fest in Crooked tree, to lobster-fest in Caye Caulker, the Mango-fest in Hopkins, and we're sure there are many Punta-fests in Dangriga - and that's because we haven't even started talking about the festivals of San Joaquin, Benque Viejo or Costa Maya! Well now, the village of Willows Bank says 'da time fu we show off fu we rich tradition of cooking using the fyah haat'! And so was born Belize's first Fyah Haat Fest.! It's scheduled for this Saturday in the village of Willows Bank, and organizers, Daphne McFadzean and Natalie Palacio say it's like no other fest!

Natalie Palacio, Organizer, Fyah Haat Fest
"Majority of the events and activities that will be taken place on that day are pretty much very, very similar, however, this is the first time any village is having a challenge against other villages, and that is exactly what the Willows Bank fyah haat festival is. The fyah haat component is a challenge; we are challenging all of the other villages. If we are saying that, we have the best cooks on fire hearth. It's a challenge for all the other villagers to say no, oh no, no, no, we have the best cooks, and so basically that is what sets it apart from all of the other activities and other festivals that maybe from that area."

Jim McFadzean
"It's a first time event; you are hoping that it is going to revive interest in the use of the fire hearth?"

Daphne McFadzean, Organizer, Fyah Haat Fest
"Yes, and actually on that day we have fire hearth which will be on sale, we have Rodla Construction. They are making the fire hearths for us, and when the competition is finished the fire hearths will be on sale, so anybody there can go ahead and if they are interested purchase the fire hearth that same day."

Jim McFadzean
"This Saturday event is going to have besides the fyah haat competition, coconut husking competition and other activities which are just as exciting and interesting as the fire hearth?"

Daphne McFadzean, Organizer, Fyah Haat Fest
"Yes, of course, especially the coconut husking because I know a lot of people are now used to coconut oil in the bottle. But a lot of people in Willows Bank still do the husking and the chipping and the grating. So it's something that we want bring back and we want to show people that there are still people out there that who still do these things."

Jim McFadzean
"Is there still interest in the fire hearth way of cooking in Belize?"

Natalie Palacio, Organizer, Fyah Haat Fest
"We believe that the interest has really dwindled and that is one of the main reasons for pushing this festival. We want to highlight because this is one of our dying traditions and we want to bring this to light, so that other people know that although you might have a stove right now, when times get hard and you can't afford fuel there is always an option, and the fire hearth is that option, but a lot of people now because as like I mention is a dying tradition, they don't even know how to use it. And so we are hoping that this festival will allow people to come and learn how to use a fire hearth. So in hard times they have an alternative."

Other activities at the Fyah Haat Fest will include an Anansi Story Telling competition, Volley Ball, and tug and war competitions.

Channel 7


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