Miss Garifuna San Pedro Pageant coming soon

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 9, No. 41            October 28, 1999

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Iris Velasquez
Lucy Velasquez
Elsy Soriano

Aban Nasium, Aban Wanichigu, Aba Wagucha - The Garifuna Nation is One Culture and Roots" is the official theme for this year's Garifuna Settlement Day Celebrations. Garifuna people and their culture play a great role in this country. They are a large portion of the multi-cultural races living in Belize. Every year on November 19th, they celebrate what is now known as Garifuna Settlement Day, a national holiday which honors the day that these people landed in Belize. Led by Alejo Beni in the year 1832, most of the Garifunas settled in the southern part of the country where they made their homes. Today, the population has expanded throughout the country, where they share their intricate traditions and way of life. San Pedro, Ambergris Caye has also had its fair share of Garifunas who have chosen the island as their home. Every year we honor this day with celebrations throughout town. This year, a team of hardworking individuals have laid plans to make the festivities this year bigger and better.

    On November 13th, 1999, the first Miss Garifuna San Pedro Pageant will take place at Central Park. Six lovely contestants will compete for the title. The pageant, which will be a cultural one, will showcase the participants displaying their traditional dresses, dances and displays of lifestyle. The stage itself will be decorated the way the Garinagu celebrate, with coconut palms, ground food, Garifuna utensils, drums and of course, the Garifuna flag.

    The contestants will be judged by a panel of five judges; two from Belize City and three from San Pedro. The girls will be required to appear on stage six times and throughout this time will try to impress the judges by portraying the real picture of a Garifuna young lady. Some of the performances by the girls will include the Hungu hungu which is a mild dance that will serve as the girl's introduction. They will also perform the Chumba which is a creative dance depicting the Garinagu's everyday work like fishing, washing and making Cassava bread. All this is done by action and no words. Another dance will be the Paranda, which is a graceful, social dance. The girls will also perform a talent presentation.

   The six contestants are Margarita Medina, Lucy Velasquez, Iris Velasquez, Elsy Soriano, Amancia Martinez and Sara Castillo. The six young ladies will be traveling to Belize City on November 6th to witness the Miss Garifuna National Contest. One of the six San Pedro contestants will be chosen to represent San Pedro that evening but will not compete for the title. The winner of this year's San Pedro competition will then compete in the National Pageant held in the year 2000.

    The San Pedro pageant is scheduled to commence at 7:00 p.m. and will feature Spanish and English translators throughout the pageant. If anyone or any business is interested in sponsoring any of the girls or contributing towards the celebrations, they can do so by contacting a member of the committee. The Queen Committee is spearheaded by Mrs. Julia Martinez and consists of Joseph Eligio, Debbie Spain, Joanne Nuñez, Elsy Soriano and Alex Noralez.

    The general public is invited to join the Garifuna of San Pedro and be witness to a wonderful celebration. More information on the pageant and the Garifuna Settlement Day Celebrations will follow in upcoming issues of the San Pedro Sun

Amancia Martinez
Margarita Medina

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