Celebrating the 107th Anniversary of the Garinagu in Belize

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 44            November 19, 2009

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Dion Samuel is Mr. Garifuna San Pedro 2009-2010!

    “Gunfuli Wamei Hayumaha Wayuangu; let us answer the call of our ancestors,” is this year’s theme for the National Garifuna celebration in Belize. Garinagu (plural of Garifuna) also known as Black Caribs, are descendants of two ethnic groups, the Carib Indians and the Black Africans that once lived on the island of St. Vincent. The first Garifuna arrived in Belize, then British Honduras, on November 19th, 1802. Today, this day is a national holiday and the arrival of the Garinagu is celebrated all over Belize with music, drumming, dancing and pageantry in various Garifuna communities.

    On Sunday, the San Pedro National Garifuna Council held an Uraga Night and Garifuna King Contest at the Lions Den. Uraga night is a night for story telling, some comedy, history and even legends. The event took place during the annual Garifuna King Competition. Each participant danced various types of Garifuna cultural music including parade and punta, introduced and expressed themselves through a talent. At the end of the night, Dion Samuel captured the attention of the judges and was crowned as the 2009 Garifuna King.

    Activities continued on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as part of their schedule. Residents and visitors alike enjoyed an all day exhibition and drumming at the Central Park as part of the Garifuna Awareness Day. On Tuesday, primary school children participated in a School Talent Show at the Lions Den. This all leads to the reenactment which took place this morning, bright and early, and showcased the arrival of the Garinagus to Belizean shores. Today, an all day jump up, filled with music and food will be held at the park and all are invited.

    The San Pedro Sun joins the National Garifuna Council in congratulating all Garinagu, wishing all Belizean a Happy Garifuna Settlement Day.

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