Saturday, November 19, 2016

11-19-2016 Garifuna Settlement Day

Garifuna Settlement Day (commemorating when the Garinagu people arrived in Belize) is often celebrated all week long. Hopkins did manage one big all-night concert on the night of the 17th, but we heard about it last minute and weren't prepared to stay up all night (i.e. no nap), plus we thought there would be an opportunity the next night. As it turned out, the late night permit was not approved, so there was no big concert on the night of the 18th like we expected. Most people took shuttles up to Dangriga for their big concerts. So, we didn't really see any Settlement Day action until the actual day, starting with the re-enactment of the landing (known in Garifuna as Yurumei), and only Cara got up early enough to see that...

Last year the Yurumei was on the beach by the church. We recently moved closer to the beach, so I (Cara) decided to walk
the beach down to the church. However, when I got to the beach I saw that it looked like everything was happening by the
public pier.

I walked down to the public pier to watch the boats come in. The people were drumming and singing, and they had palm
leaves, sugarcane, cassava and plantain.

Three times the lead boat lands and ceremonially asks the "Governor" for permission to go ashore.

Twice, the people are sent away without permission.

The third time the people are given permission, so they go out to collect the other boats.

Nowadays, the people travel in motorized skiffs, but back in the day they would have been in dory boats (like dugout canoes).

Everyone disembarks from the boats, drumming, singing, and dancing, and they make their way to the church for a service. I
started following the procession, but I ran into friends along the way and decided to have breakfast with them instead.

We had a relaxing day, then decided to take a walk in the late afternoon. As we were leaving our house we happened upon a
parade through the village.

We followed the parade north for a bit.

We stopped off at the public pier because the sky and sea were very pretty. The decorations were still up from the morning
Yuruwei festivities, and the colors in the distance were pale and beautiful.

We walked north a little bit and caught the parade again as they were headed south, after having already walked to and from
the north end of the village.

We followed the parade south before deciding on a place for dinner.

There was a beautiful sunset over the savannah and mountains, but all of our pictures of it turned out blurry, unfortunately.

You kind of get the idea how pretty it was, right?

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