San Pedro House of Culture hosts Ambergris Caye’s first Jankunu Festival
The San Pedro House of Culture (SPHC) along with the Charikanari Garifuna Dance Group held the first ever Garifuna Jankunu Festival in San Pedro Town. The newest festival on the island took place at the Central Park shortly after 7PM on Saturday, December 23rd, with dozens of spectators gathered to witness the cultural event. Members of the local Garifuna community delighted with their well-crafted Jankunu performances, as well as other cultural dances.
The Jankunu dance consists of masked and costumed dancers parading the streets or performing in public areas in different towns and Garinagu villages across Belize. The cultural tradition is very common during the Christmas holidays, when performers roam from house to house accompanied by the beats of traditional drummers using two types of drums, the Primero (tenor drum) and Segundo (bass drum).The presentations are also a way of raising funds as the revelers receive donations for their performances.
At the opening of the event on Saturday, Guillermo ‘Mito’ Paz from the House of Culture explained some of the historical patterns of the dances. The traditional dance originates from the days of slavery, when slaves would get Sundays off. On that day, they would practice some aspects of their African cultural roots. Julia Martinez of the Charikanari Group elaborated on the dancers’ costumes.
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