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Garifuna Settlement Day 2024 in Belize

Drums and punta music are the main highlights of this Afro-Caribbean holiday

Dates: November 19

Garifuna Settlement Day is the main annual holiday for the Garifuna people of Belize, who mostly live in south Belize, around Dangriga. The festivities, which are always held on November 19th, include several parades, street parties with live music, drumming, and dancing.

Currently, about 17,000 Garifuna people live in Belize. They descended from West African slaves, who survived the storm that broke the slave ship. Survivors settled on the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where they mixed with local indigenous tribes and adopted their language. Later, they were exiled from the islands by the British army and settled on the Caribbean Coast in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. A large group of Garifuna arrived in Dangriga in 1802.

Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates Garinagu's arrival with the reenactment of their first landing in Dangriga. Locals lead their boats to the shore carrying cassava sticks and sugarcane—foods that helped Garifuna people survive their voyage. Garinagu culture is rich with music and dance traditions, especially drumming. Garifuna food treats served during the holiday include fish cooked in coconut milk, chicken, bananas, plantain mash, and cassava.

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