Garifuna in Belize


  • The Garifuna people are of mixed African and indigenous people originally from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent who speak the Garifuna dialect of the Arawakan language.
  • They are also known as Garinagu, the plural of Garifuna.
  • A brief civil war in 1832 found the Caribs, the Garinagu were forced to flee to neighboring Belize formally British Honduras.
  • The first Garifuna arrived in British Honduras on November 19, 1802.
  • They established villages such as Barranco, Seine Bight, Dangriga, Hopkins and Punta Gorda.
  • The Garifuna flag consists of three horizontal strips of black, white and yellow, in that order, starting from the top.
  • The colors yellow, white, and black represent the sun, peace, and pride of the Garinagu people.
  • The Garifuna make up about 7% of the Belize population.


The Garifuna dishes comprises mainly of fish, cassava, and plantains prepared in a variety of ways. Below are few pictures:

Hudut recipe:


5 Green plantains
3 Ripe plantains
2 Whole coconut (grated)
5 Plate-size fish (prefer snapper)
1 Small onion (diced)
1 Bell pepper (diced)
4 Basil leaf (chopped)
1 1bs Okro (whole)
Salt & pepper
8 cups of water


Clean, core, and season fish with the salt and pepper and partially fry then set aside.

Sauté the onions and bell peppers for a few minutes then add the coconut milk and water, stir then add the fish.  Let it set for a few minutes until it starts heating up.  At this point you will need to constantly stir milk with a spoon – do not stir the fish but keep the milk in constant movement with the spoon.  The milk will start to curdle if you do not maintain the constant motion.  You can turn fish after one side is cooked.   Let the soup continue boiling and bubble until the fish is cooked and soup is thickened.  Taste for flavor, add salt and pepper to taste. 5 minutes before you turn off the stove, add the okro to the soup.

Peel and cut plantains. Each plantain should be cut in three or four pieces. Boil the green plantains first in 8 cups of water. After they are about half way cooked, add the half ripe plantains. Let all plantains boil until they are fully cooked. Remove from water and let them cool. Mash both plantains and form into balls and serve with the Hudut. Enjoy!



“John Canoe” or Jankunu, which typically refers to a dance meant to make fun of the image of colonial slave masters, is known to the Garifuna diaspora as Wanaragua.



  • The Dugu (also known as the 9 nights ceremony) is an ancient extended funerary ceremony practiced by the Garifuna people.
  • The Dugu is a festival that aims to bring deceased ancestors of the Garifuna to the present.
  • It usually lasts between two days to as much as two weeks.
  • The ceremony seeks to cure ill persons that have become sick because they have displeased the gubida (spirits).
  • Families and friends gather around drums and sing, calling the gubida to the ceremony.



  • The main traditional instruments are drums and maracas.
  • Drums play an important role in Garifuna music.
  • The main drum is the Segunda (bass drum). The drums are normally made by hollowing out logs and stretching antelope skin over them.
  • The two main Garifuna genres are Punta and Paranda.

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