Saturday, October 12, 2013

Culture Day

On Friday our school celebrated Culture Day.  Like the USA, Belize is comprised of many cultures.  Like the USA many of the people are proud of their ancestors' traditions and still speak their family's language, eat their culture's food, sing and dance to traditional songs and occasionally hold religious rituals that are associated with their culture.  Unlike the USA, Belize actively promotes cultural acceptance, integration and respect.  It's one of the highest values of Belize society.  To that end, our school and several others celebrated "Culture Day" where we talked about the different cultures in Belize, the foods associated with each culture and how we respect and honor each other.

 Here you see four children from the Infant 1 class.  Adrienne (dressed in Mestizo clothing), Luke (dressed as a Mennonite), Morine (dressed in Garifuna clothing) and Mia (also dressed in Garifuna clothing).
The Garifuna are descendants of African slaves whose ship crashed on the shores of Belize and freed them.  They are mixed with native Arawak Indian people, have a rich musical culture, and speak Garinagu.

About 45% of Belize is Mestizo (Mexican-Maya descent).
Creole: 30%
Maya: 10%
Garifuna: 6%
Mennonite: 4%
Hindu (East Indian): 2%

(% lifted from the CIA World Factbook: Belize. 2013)

This adorable child is Ellin.  She is in the infant 1 (Kindergarten) class. She didn't dress for Culture Day but asked me to take her picture.  She is probably of Creole descent. Her ancestors were brought to Belize from Africa as slaves to cut lumber. Most of the people who are culturally Creole live near Belize City.  They speak the Creole language which has spread throughout Belize and is one of the most frequently spoken languages here.
Sulmi is dressed in a formal Mestizo dress that is used for doing traditional Mestizo dances.

Chelsea is wearing the shirt that many Mopan Maya women wear everyday. It's not a costume.  It's more of a way to show their identity. The Mopan Maya culture is in southern Belize.  They are primarily subsistence farmers.
Mrs. Cantun and Mrs. Briceno, our assistant principal and principal, even got in on the act.  Mrs. Cantun is representing the Hindu culture.  Mrs. Briceno is wearing a beautiful Mestizo dress.
This is Sulmi and Kristel at the morning assembly.  Part of the Mestizo dress includes wearing large bright flowers in your hair.
Here are all of the teachers dressed in various ethnic clothing.  I am wearing a Ketchi Maya shirt.


  1. Thanks for sharing some of the culture and history of Belize. I learned a lot reading your blog today! Praying for you, your ministry, and the Deaf/HH people in Belize. Hugs and Prayers!

  2. Wow! I love seeing all the beautiful clothing and reading that Belize actively encourages multiculturalism! I wish for more of that here.