All those living in San Pedro Town know of the vibrant and diverse cultural melting pot that the metropolis offers. Â This year, 2013 marks the 181st anniversary of the arrival of the Garifuna to Belize, and residents have enjoyed a day of celebration to pay tribute to this special occasion.
One hundred and eighty-one years ago, the Garifuna landed on the south coast of Belize, bringing with them a new culture that would become a proud part of the country. Â On Monday November 18th, San Pedro celebrated in style, with schools hosting a variety of Garifuna activities to raise awareness. Â Pupils at the townÂs schools held events and dressed in typical Garifuna costumes so they could really get into the mood of the celebrations. Â In addition to the individual school activities, a central town event was held later in the day so that everyone could come and celebrate the festivities together.
At San PedroÂs Roman Catholic School, the activities included a Garifuna exposition. Â This included food, dance, clothing, music and a historical presentation to showcase the vibrant culture that was brought to BelizeÂs shores all those years ago. Â A variety of booths showcased different aspects of Garifuna culture, while several students actually dressed up in traditional attire. Â The schoolÂs event was a complete success and helped give youngsters a greater comprehension of the Garifuna culture.
While the townÂs schools held separate events, there was also a rally held in Central Park. Â Organized by the San Pedro Branch of the National Garifuna Council, the San Pedro Cultural Committee and the Ministry of Education, the rally brought all the children together for a final celebratory event. Â As part of the activities, a re-enactment of the landing was showcased, showing pupils just how people may have arrived back on November 19th, 1832. Â A parade was also held through the streets of San Pedro Town, with pupils from the Holy Cross Anglican School and the San Pedro Roman Catholic School singing traditional Garifuna songs as they marched. Â Hosted under the theme of ÂLet us progress in unity with GodÂs goodness and the protection of our ancestors,Â the national awareness day was a huge success.
Belize is an extremely vibrant community of cultural diversity, and the event showed just how much residents of the nation embrace local traditions and take an interest in each otherÂs background.