Celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day in the Heart of Hopkins

Villa Verano sits in the heart of the Garifuna village of Hopkins, and is the perfect base for immersing yourself in the Garifuna culture. Through cultural immersion experiences, you can begin to understand Hopkins, her people and the culture a little better. No other time of year is better for this experience than November. According to history, a dory or a dugout canoe carrying a group of Garinagu arrived in then British Honduras on November 19th, 1802. This day, which is the most important day on the Garifuna calendar, is now a national holiday in Belize celebrated annually as Garifuna Settlement Day. It commemorates the arrival of the Garinagu people to Belize and early in the morning on the 19th, people partake in yurumei, a reenactment of the first arrival to Belize’s shores. Each year, people “arrive” by dory celebrating with drumming, singing and proudly waving leaves and the Garifuna flag.

Yurumei – The Re-enactment of the arrival of the Garinagu to Belize. Photo courtesy Lebawit Lily Girma

The Garinagu are descendants of African, Carib and Arawak people, and are one of Belize’s main ethnic groups. Garifuna Settlement Day festivities include drumming, dancing, prayers, parades, re-enactments and pageants in many areas throughout the country, and highlight the music, dance, fashion, language and rich Garifuna heritage. It is no wonder that UNESCO has proclaimed the Garifuna language, dance and music as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Villa Verano can organize drumming sessions for guests, as well as Garifuna meals.  Local chefs can prepare hudutu (a meal made from green and ripe plantain together with a fish soup cooked in coconut milk), bundiga (made from green banana) and other Garifuna specialties. Seafood and plantains are staple items in Garifuna cuisine and many of the traditional dishes represent the love for the sea and living on the coast.  Guests can choose to experience authentic village life or have a private chef prepare specialties to order. Whichever your preference, at Villa Verano, we believe that sharing a culture is the best way of preserving it, so we invite you to celebrate these traditions with us.

Traditional Garifuna Food – Hudut. Photo Courtesy www.bewambay.com

For an authentic, cultural tour, one must try the Garifuna Cultural Immersion Tour where you will have the opportunity to don traditional clothes, husk coconuts, learn how to make hudutu and try your hand with the Garifuna beats and rhythms. Villa Verano is ideal for groups, families, couples or individuals, offering various accommodation options. Our services and amenities are unmatched in Hopkins, and we offer several adventure tour options. Villa Verano – the ultimate luxury and cultural vacation…within your reach!

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