Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations have already commenced in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, as the big day and national holiday is observed on November 19. The celebrations highlight the arrival of the Garinagu people to Belize, but there is one business on Ambergris Caye that celebrates the Garinagu culture all year round. Black and White Restaurant and Cultural Center provides Garifuna food, dance and experience to visitors from around the world who visit Ambergris Caye.
Here is a look at Black and White Restaurant as they prepare for the Garifuna celebrations of this year. Ms. Julia Martinez, proprietor, has set up a room full of information and artifacts that depicts the history of the ethnic group. She is a proud Garifuna who says she will continue to preserve her culture for as long as she can. Black and White also honors past Garinagu legends who played vital roles to their heritage and to Belize. We cant forget that they also offer us with the best Garinagu desserts such as the coconut tableta and fudge; every Garinagu dress is sewed personally by her.
About the Garifuna People of Belize
Garifuna people are mixed-race descendants of West African, Central African, Island Carib, and Arawak people. Garinagus are descendants of Dominica, St Vincent and Trinidad. Their ancestors are believed to have conquered these areas from their previous inhabitants, the Igneri.
Since April 12, 1731, the Garinagus have been living in Central America, where they speak the Garifuna language. The Garifuna people mostly live along the Caribbean Coast of Honduras, but there are also smaller populations in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize.
Garifuna day is celebrated on November 19th nationwide. This is a time of celebration, a time where the beats of drums and the Garifuna dancing are present all month long; dances such as punta, gunjai, chumba, paranda and the Jankunu. The Jankunu plays a very special role in their culture especially during Christmas, as Christmas gets closer the Jankunu dances are seen more. Instruments such as: primero and segundo traditional drums along with the shaka or sisira, turtle shells, and the guitar compose the traditional Garifuna music.