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Top 5 Things to Experience in Belize Over Christmas

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Garifuna Jankunu Dance in Dangriga, Belize
Christmas in Belize is celebrated throughout the month of December. It’s the month where Belizeans spend quality time with family and friends. Government offices, banks, and most non-tourism-oriented businesses shut down for the week surrounding Christmas Day. Amongst all Belizeans, Christmas is a time to clean and decorate the house. In preparation for expected or unexpected family and friends, the house is cleaned, often new curtains are hung and Christmas decorations are put out. Sound familiar?

While many Belizeans celebrate Christmas the traditional way, lots of other local traditions are still being kept alive. If you are visiting Belize during the month of December you can expect to experience some of these unique celebrations.  

Here’s our top five things you’ll experience if you’re going to Belize in the next couple of weeks:


1. Garifuna Jankunu and Charikanari Dance
During the Christmas and New Year holidays the local Garifuna communities in Belize take to the streets to enjoy the Jankunu and Charikanari dancers. The Jankunu dance sees masked and costumed dancers parading the streets and roaming from house to house accompanied by the beat of traditional drummers.

The other dance that you can expect to see over the Holidays is the Charikanari.   This masked dance is a dramatization of a hunting scene where a "hunter man" is looking for the "Two Foot Cow".  The dancers wear cowhead attire with real horns worn over a head wrap and a wire screen mask.  Like the Jankunu, dancers and drummers roam from house to house entertaining the community with antics. Boys and men dress as women while wearing the masks and dance. The "Two Foot Cow" taunts children who tease him.

Jankunu Dancers outside our Belize Operations Base and Office in Dangriga
Jankunu Dancers outside our Belize Operations Base and Office in Dangriga 

2. Traditional Foods at Christmas Time
Traditional Christmas foods are enjoyed including traditional turkey and all of holiday trimmings. Local traditional foods are also included in the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day feasts. These dishes include rice and beans, potato salad, black fruitcake, white relleno (a soup with pork-stuffed chicken and raisins), pebre (roasted pork and gravy), ham with pickled onions and jalapeños and tamales. Rumpopo, the well-known Belizean version of eggnog, is also a favorite at Christmas.

Rumpopo
Rumpopo

3. Christmas Bram
The Christmas Bram consists of celebrants singing, dancing and playing instruments as revelers snake through neighborhoods and it is native to the Belize Kriol culture. The Bram is similar to “caroling”, where people make their way through the streets singing and playing Brukdong music while dancing from house to house to spread the good cheer. 

4. Kwanzaa - Boxing Day Celebrations
Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated by many black American-Belizean on December 26th which honors their African-american culture.

5. Midnight Mass
With over 70% of Belizeans considering themselves Christians, midnight Mass or "Misa de Gallo" on Christmas eve is an important part of the Christmas celebrations in Belize.

If you go:
Are you dreaming of a tropical Christmas vacation or you just want to get away from the extremely cold winter going on right now throughout North America? Get out of the cold!  Contact us today and explore our all-inclusive trip itineraries that showcase the best of Belize.