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Garifuna Settlement Day
Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates the arrival of the first Garinagu on Belizean shores back in the 1800s. All-night parties leading up to the November 19 holiday take place around the country, along with cultural reenactment ceremonies. Garifuna villages like Dangriga, Hopkins, and Punta Gorda really come alive during Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations. The spiritual home of Garifuna is Dangriga—and the ideal spot if you want to experience Belize's biggest celebration. The reenactment ceremony takes place very early on November 19, with Garinagu arriving to shore on a dory, or dugout canoe. Garifuna women line the shores in bright costumes while traditional drummers welcome the boats in. Look for the colors of the Garifuna flag—yellow (sun), white (peace), and black (color of their people). There are parades, singing, drumming, prayers, food, and more, usually for an entire week. In 2001, UNESCO recognized the importance of Garifuna culture and declared it a “masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity,” encouraging education and its preservation.
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