San Pedro Town has celebrated its first ever Dia de la Raza event. Â Coordinated by the San Pedro Cultural Committee and the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), the festivalÂs theme was ÂPromoting Unity though Cultural Diversity Â Belize, a Melting Pot.Â Â It was carefully planned to coincide with Pan-American Day, allowing visitors and locals to sit back and enjoy the diversity that can be found in Belize through the medium of dance and food.
The event was started off by Daniel Guerrero, the Mayor of San Pedro, who conducted a short ceremony to open the festival. Â Mr. Guerrero applauded the organizers of Dia de la Raza for keeping cultural diversity at the forefront of San PedroÂs events. Â This view was echoed by the Museum of BelizeÂs Carla Rosado, who said that the island was really pushing the countryÂs tourism mandate of Âpromoting cultural tourism.Â Â Meanwhile, guest speaker, the Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. who acts as the Minister of Tourism and Culture, said: ÂWe at the Ministry applaud these efforts that seek to highlight our culture while promoting our country. Â It showcases how rich we are and how diverse Belize is when compared to our neighbors.Â
After the short ceremony and introduction, the stage became host to a variety of acts, all depicting the wide and varied culture that can be found in Belize. Â In two dance segments, the San Pedro Dance Academy showcased Creole and East Indian dances to entertain those watching. Â Meanwhile, a traditional Maya ceremony was conducted by the Grupo Musical Maya Kopchen, who used the stage to bless San Pedro Town. Â After the blessing, the group then performed several indigenous dances to show the culture from their home communities. Â In addition, the Chumba, Paranda, Jankunu and Punta dances were brought to life by the Punta in Belize and Garifuna Melody dance troupes, whilst Kim Pan XaÂAl of San Jose Palmar performed various Mestizadas dances.
In addition to the cultural dances, there was a wide variety of food on offer for everyone to tuck into, making the event into a full day of festivities. Â With the success of the Dia de la Raza, itÂs hoped that the day might make it onto the annual calendar.