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Garifuna Settlement Day
While every major cultural group in Belize celebrates its own festivals and rituals, one of the most unifying celebrations is Garifuna Settlement Day, which is also a national holiday in Belize. Officially on November 19, the day celebrates the 1823 arrival of the Garinagu people to the shores of Belize. Head to Dangriga on the evening of November 18, when vibrant celebrations begin in town. Locals and visitors from all over Belize and the world gather under the thatch roof sheds to dance and chant to Garifuna drums until sunrise. Then for a sunrise reenactment, canoes are filled with cassava leaves and traditionally clothed residents who paddle their way to shore while those waiting along the banks cheer. Once the canoes reach shore in the morning, the revelry continues in the streets of Dangriga all day long, with a traditional church service, followed by street parades and dancing.
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Garifuna Settlement Day
“Every city and town has clubs that play local music and where local bands play on weekends. Just ask around and you'll find the perfect spot. During the independence celebrations in September you will hear a lot of carnival music, especially in Belize City. If you are in Belize in November, you must go to Dangriga Town for Garifuna Settlement Day on the 19th. It’s an all day event celebrating the arrival of the Garifuna people to Belize with lots of music, drumming, and dancing.” Ivan Duran, Garifuna Collective
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Dangriga, Belize