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Garifuna Settlement Day

Happy Garifuna Settlement Day, Belize!

We wish Belize and Garifuna communities around the world a happy Garifuna Settlement Day by celebrating the only way we know how – with Instagram!

November 19 is Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize. Many consider today the most charming of Belize’s holidays, even in 2021, as the Jewel celebrated its 40th birthday.

Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates the arrival of the Garifuna people in Belize in 1802. The Garifuna are descendants of shipwrecked African slaves and indigenous tribes (mostly Arawak) on the island of St. Vincent, in the eastern Caribbean.

The British expelled them from St. Vincent to the island of Roatán in present-day Honduras in 1797, after the Second Carib War. From there, they made their way to mainland Central America, and settled along the Caribbean coast of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and as far south as Nicaragua.

In Belize, the cultural heart of the Garifuna community is around the town of Dangriga, in the south of the country. It’s in this area they arrived from Roatán in 1802, an event celebrated on November 19 each year.

Belizean civil rights activist Thomas Vincent Ramos invented the concept of Garifuna Settlement Day in 1941. It became an official holiday in 1977. Ramos created the event to shine a light on the Garifuna people, and to celebrate their cultural achievements.

Over the years, the holiday has become a beloved institution in Belize, celebrated by the whole country.

There’s lots of eating, drinking, dancing, music, and making merry.

People also recreate the arrival of the Garifuna in Belize by getting into boats and dug out canoes, and “arriving” onto the beach.

Here, as with all our Central American festivities, we celebrate in the only way we know how – with Instagram!

Below are some of the best images and videos we’ve found of people celebrating Garifuna Settlement Day in 2021.

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A post shared by SunUp On 7 (@sunup7bz)

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A post shared by Nerissa Lino (@njlino)

Due to the pandemic, Garifuna Settlement Day is a little more muted than most years. But nonetheless, it’s still a treasured, valuable celebration in Belize, and in Garifuna communities around the world.

Here at, we wish Belize and the Garifuna community a wonderful day!

James Dyde is the editor of He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.

James Dyde

James Dyde

James Dyde is a British immigrant to Costa Rica and the editor of this website. He has lived in Central America since 2000 and retains a deep love for the region. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.