Today, the global population of Garifuna people is approximately 300,000, most of whom live in Honduras, Belize the U.S. and Canada.
Garifuna communities along the Caribbean Sea live mostly in coastal towns and villages in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Approximately 100,000 people of Garifuna heritage live in Honduras, and they celebrate ‘Garifuna Settlement Day’ on April 12th.
An Indigenous People – Never Slaves
The history of the Garifuna (also known as Garinagu) more than likely originated from a region in west Africa. They may have crossed the Atlantic Ocean long before ‘Christopher Columbus’ and they settled on one of the most eastern Caribbean islands, (Saint Vincent).
Documented history indicate that St. Vincent was inhabited by a tribe of Indians called Arawaks, who also must have navigated the Eastern Caribbean islands and the South Atlantic Ocean.
Today, November 19th. ‘GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY’ is a national holiday in Belize, It is the date celebrated for the arrival of the 1st. group of ‘Garifuna’ people to the shores of Belize, (Stann Creek District) and the main town ‘Dangriga’.
The holiday was created by Belizean civil rights activist, Thomas Vincent Ramos. It was recognized as a public holiday in the southern districts of Belize in 1943, and declared a national holiday in 1977. However, the official observation of the holiday started in the mid 1980s when stores and most businesses began closing for the day.
A Holiday for a cultural group signifies a recognition of a distinct demographic group, their inclusion and our national recognition.
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Written & Compiled by: digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – digitalCaribbean.live Thursday, November 19th. 2020 – firstname.lastname@example.org