Articles tagged with: Belize Culture
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Yes, gone are the days when it was all swimsuit competitions and prancing around. Modern competitions look for knowledge and sophistication. So it is with some national pride that we announce that Belizean up-and-comer Jacinta Gomez won the annual University of South Florida Miss International Pageant this week.
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As Guardian reporter Shane D. Williams pointed out, this year’s parade reflected a growing sense of security and peace in Belize City, as with even with more marchers than ever before, there were no untoward incidents reported among the enthusiasm and partying that continued to build as the throng made its way from Memorial Park through a new, longer route through the city this year.
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But what we do find surprising is that it hasn’t yet taken the world by storm. Sure, anyone serious about world music has some Belizean music in their collection, and it continues to slowly but surely gain more listeners around the planet, but why Belize’s music is not more popular remains one of life’s great mysteries.
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With the world’s second largest barrier reef (some say the world’s longest living barrier reef), huge tracts of unspoiled rainforests surrounding ancient Maya cities and temples, pristine rivers, waterfalls, hundreds of lovely little islands and a stunning Caribbean coast, what’s not to be happy about? Oh yes, then there’s the people. Nowhere on the planet will you find a more multicultural mix of happy souls who have long ago worked out how to live in harmony. Just about everyone who comes to Belize remarks on the natural, easy going friendliness and warmth of Belizeans. And it’s infectious – after a few days even the most harried travellers notice a spring in the step and a propensity towards smiling. It just grows on you…
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In order to survive in the increasingly competitive tourism industry, even the most remote resorts must pay careful attention to their kitchens as travellers are placing greater emphasis on a quality dining experience, the food and beverage manager of a popular Belizean eco resort advises. Bryony Fleming Bradley, of The Lodge at Chaa Creek in western Belize, said that the days of adventurous travellers being satisfied with food that was simply hot and palatable are over. ”Some years back, our guests would always comment at how happily surprised they were with the quality of the food we served, as it usually exceeded their expectations of what would be found in such a pristine location.
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The Belizean culture is unlike anything else on Earth. It’s a unique blending of many different influences, ranging from the Spanish Mestizos, to the German Mennonites, and the Ancient Maya. Today, aspects of these people live on in the nation of Belize and its folktales. Here are some of the land’s most compelling legends:
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Belize would not be the Belize that we know and love if it wasn’t for the many contributions of the Garifuna, and their proud history if one of the most interesting and enduring sagas humanity has known, beginning with a fateful shipwreck off St Vincent’s Island in the Caribbean in the 1600s, when surviving African slaves made it to shore and mixed with the local Arawak, or Carib, population.
“If you can’t make it down here for the celebrations, you owe it to yourself to learn more about one of the most interesting, intriguing and colourful cultures on the planet. It’s a fascinating journey in every sense of the word, and here at Chaa Creek we’ll be taking the time out to join our Garifuna brothers and sisters in saying, ‘Gibe Memegili Wayumaha; Lidanba Uarani Wawansera’, which fittingly translates to ‘We continue to have many aspirations; in Unity we advance’ ,” he said.
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One of the interesting oddities of nature is undoubtedly the sheep frog’s ability to confuse those in its surroundings into thinking there is a different animal in its surroundings by making an unusual sound (a sheep like bleat) not particular to its own species (as croaking is the norm for its amphibious cousins). So when you are walking through the tropical rainforests of Belize and hear what sounds like a sheep in the middle of the forest watch your step because you do not want to step on this wonderful oddity of nature.
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By respecting nature and animals, we respect ourselves. We are just another species in a world full of the living, except we should have the capacity to make better decisions regarding our environment. Sadly, the decisions many are making are damaging our ecosystem. The further we harm our natural ecosystem, the more harm we our doing to the human race. Nature not only holds the key to keeping our world in balance ecologically, but it also provides balance to our lives by promoting wellness and cures to our ailments. Responsible travel and responsible living in general cannot be stressed enough!
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Tomorrow, November 19th is Garifuna Settlement day in Belize; festivities are celebrating all over the country but most popular in the south since most of our Garifuna people are situated there. This incredible day was founded in 1941 by Thomas Vincent Ramos and was established a National holiday in 1943.
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Cut the onions, pepper, garlic and ginger roughly before putting in the food processor
Then add the dry herbs and spices, the lime-juice and the rum. Blend the mixture on full speed and add as much olive oil as needed to give it a smooth texture.
Rub the chicken pieces with the jerk seasoning and allow marinating several hours (overnight is best)
Belize’s geography, economy and society fostered a sense of interdependence and the need to work together as opposed to the more rigidly divided racial and class structures common to other colonies in the region. People of different backgrounds have always associated freely in Belize and often intermarry, resulting in a naturally diverse and harmonious culture. Belize is the only Central American country having English as the official language, but many people speak Spanish as well, and almost everyone speaks at least a bit of Creole (known as Belize Kriol).
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By Lorenzo Gonzalez
All and every Saturdays, in western Belize, residents of the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town and villagers from all over the Cayo District come to San Ignacio to sell their local produce.
There you can witness a wide array of different foods, fruits and vegetables and many miscellaneous items. Villagers start setting up their stalls from early morning and at the crack of dawn the market place comes alive with many people buying, trading and conversing amongst …
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The epic story of the Garifuna begins in the early 1600’s on the Carribean island of St Vincent when West African slaves were brought on the island by the Spanish. The slaves who survived found shelter in the existing Carib Indians settlements and over the next century the two groups intermarried and eventually fused into a single culture, creating the Black Caribs or Garinagu culture, commonly referred to as Garifuna. Over the next 100 years, broken treaties, defeat and conflicts defined the beginnings of the Garifuna culture. The Garifuna were shipped from St Vincent to Roatan, Honduras, where barely 200 Garifuna survived to make the landing. Unfortunately, a civil rebellion forced many Garifuna to flee north to the shores of Belize. On November 19th, 1832, a large group of Garifuna landed on the coast of Belize at what is now considered one of the most important Garifuna settlements in the Caribbean. The site of their historic landing is the town of Dangriga which means “sweet running water” in Garifuna language. Garifuna Settlement Day is now celebrated annually on the 19th day of November to honor the arrival of Garifuna to the shores of Belize.