Friday, 13 September 2013

Belize Culture

The Kekchi Maya are originally from the Verapaz region of Guatemala. They migrated to Belize in the late 1800's after losing their land and freedom to German coffee growers. Their language is also called Q'eqchi'. Maya women wear tops—when there was a feast, when they went to mass, when they danced, or when they had their pictures taken for them it is a tradition. But for day-to-day woman’s work around the house. The two type of dress Kechi women uses are Mopan Maya huipil and skirt and a dress with little puffy sleeves and lacy ribbons that would have been appropriate for a child.  Food was masa, raw tortilla dough—dried corn soaked in slaked lime, and then finely ground, with enough water added to stick together, Tamales or Corn Tortilla with beams or Bush Veggies. Maya's use to use Corn as for Startch. They are recognized as the poorest and most disenfranchised of the ethnic groups in Belize. The system of ''alcade'' were practiced to be subsistence to slash and burn agriculture and have  self-governing.

Mopan Maya originally inhabited parts of central Belize and the Peten in Guatemala. In the 1600's some were converted to catholicism by the Spanish while others resisted. Their indigenous language is also called Mopan and is also part of the Yucatec Maya Language. In 1886, the modern Mopan began migrating back to Southern Belize from the village of San Luis in the southern Peten, Guatemala. Men generally wear Euro-American style pants and shirts. Toledo district, the town of San Antonio continues to be the largest settlement of Mopan in Belize today. Women display caribbean folk dress in a range, from modern to traditional in their clothes. Mopan Maya food is made fresh from the pot. Mopan Maya makes their own hand ground tortillas and harvest their own locally grown poultry. The food is prepared on large wood burning stoves made by my family. Herbs are used to season the pot when they are freshly picked from the family garden. The mainstay food items of the Mopan Mayan's diet are beans and corn. Breakfast consists of corn or flour tortillas, with beans or eggs, and coffee. Their midday meal typically consists of chicken with broth and tortillas. Eving was similiar to the Breakfast meal.  Mopan Mayans maintain a strong link to the past through rituals, folklore and family quiolal. Dancing and traditional music remain important as several festivals and celebrations occur throughout the year. 1st and 2nd of November, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. On this day huge feasts are prepared for ancestors. In the late evening these meals are set on tables along with candles in the houses of those who have lost their loved ones.

The Mestizo is the largest ethnic group in Latin America. Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Spain, and the Spanish-speaking Latin America to mean a person whose ancestors were both European and American Indians only. Following an uprising in Mexico of the impoverished populace (mostly Maya) against the rich Spanish and Mestizo class many Maya as well as some Mestizo travelled across the border into Belize and settled there. The first group began to move into northern Belize around the 1850's. The northern refugees who settled in Corozal, Orange Walk, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker were at first only Mestizoes but later were joined by many Maya immigrants. Mestizo are a perfect blend of Spanish customs as well as those of the Maya. Carnival season would be ushered in by a dance called "Los Mascarados". This dance involves a group of men in different disguises who would march through the streets dgragging chains.The food as well, shows the influence of the Maya, as many of the Mestizo dishes make use of corn in some way or form. Sugar plantations in the settlement helped to supplement an economy that historically had proven overly dependent on timber extraction.

Garifuna are descendants of Carib, Arawak, and West African people. In the 19th century the Garifuna created a niche in Belizean society. Scattered along the Caribbean coast, the Garifuna people initially came to Belize from Honduras. The Garifunas are a cultural and racial fusion of African slaves, Carib Indians, and a sprinkling of Europeans. They live along the Caribbean Coast in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras including the mainland, and on the island of Roatán. Their language is primarily derived from Arawak and Carib, with English, French, and Spanish to a lesser degree. One interesting feature of Garifuna is a vocabulary split between terms used only by men and terms used only by women. Garifuna are officially Catholic but there are some that are following other religions. Mystical practices and participation in the Dugu orders are also widespread among Garifuna. Some individuals from Sein Bight and Dangriga, Belize have claimed to have seen feats of levitation. On November 19 of every year Garifuna celebrates their culture day as they gather on the morning rise on a boat showcasing their ceremony as how they landed in Belize.

Mennonites  Mennonites either are described only as a religious denomination with members of different ethnic origins or as both an ethnic group and a religious denomination. Since the latter part of the 20th century, some Mennonite groups have become more actively involved with peace and social justice issues, helping to found Christian Peacemaker Teams and Mennonite Conciliation Service. Mennonites living in Belize are among the most traditional and conservative amongst all the Prussian Mennonites in Central America. The women wear bonnets and long dresses while the men wear denim overalls and hats. The men may wear traditional suspenders and dark trousers. The women wear brightly colored dresses. In many of the Mennonite communities there is a softening of the old tradition. They produce milk, cheese, beans, corn, melons, honey, chicken, and eggs.  They have turned sections of tropical jungle into highly productive farmland. They are also skilled in manufacturing household furniture as well as constructing houses. Weddings are performed on Sundays. It usually consists of two ministers, one to explain the meaning of matrimony and the other to do the blessings. Gifts given are usually tools and household items.

Creole- Are descendants of Black African slaves brought to Belize and English and Scottish log cutters, who were known as the Baymen.Creole, "Kreyol" or "Kweyol" also refers to the creole languages in the Caribbean, including Antillean Creole, Haitian Creole, and Jamaican Creole, among others. the term "Creolean" is used to refer to a French-speaking person of primarily European ethnicity born in the Caribbean islands.A creole is believed to arise when a pidgin, developed by adults for use as a second language, becomes the native and primary language of their children — a process known as nativization. The terms criollo and crioulo were originally qualifiers used throughout the Spanish and Portuguese colonies to distinguish the members of an ethnic group who were born and raised locally from those who immigrated as adults.  Kriol is now spoken by about 75% of Belizeans. Creoles are found predominantly in urban areas, such as Belize City, in most coastal towns and villages, and in the Belize River Valley. Creole Festival is held on the grounds of the House of Culture. The festival is notable because it is part of an effort by Belize's Creole population to assert itself as a distinct group, rich with its own traditions. The Bile Up (or Boil Up) is one cultural dish of the Belizean Creoles. It is a combination boiled eggs, fish and/or pig tail, with number of ground foods such as cassava, green plantains, yams, sweet potatoes, and tomato sauce. Other important Creole foods are Cowfoot Soup, a thick stew with cocoyam and tripe, and a wide variety of dishes made with fish. In Belize, cassava was traditionally made into "bammy," a small fried cassava cake related to Garifuna cassava bread. Brukdown is a genre of Belizean music. Its most well-known performer and innovator, Wilfred Peters is regarded as a Belizean national icon.