Over the weekend I attended the Detroit Caribbean International Festival for the first time, in particular the Carnival Parade on Saturday. The kids & I went as part of our cultural exploration & we had a great time. The parade was a beautiful explosion of color, site & sound & I think I was more excited than the kids as they scrambled to catch beads and candy.
As the parade marched on, I saw many Caribbean nations that I am familiar with i.e. Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bahamas etc. Oh wait, did I mention Belize! When I saw the Belizean’s I was thinking that there are no black people in Belize, it’s a Hispanic South American nation. Obviously I was wrong because here they are in the flesh, Black Belizean’s in all of their splendor. As a matter of fact one approached me & as she got closer we hugged each other with excitement. It was Alecia from work, my new special Afro Belizean Friend.
Alecia put me up on some quick knowledge about the people of Belize. She stated that most people think the people there are Hispanic, but it could not be further from the truth. While almost half of the Belizean people are Hispanic, there are many other Ethnic Groups. To illustrate the diversity of the people, Alicia told me that she had a cousin that looks like Gloria Estefan, Belize is a Heinz 57!
Overall the parade was a wonderful & enriching experience. I plan on check it out annually, Hopefully I can actually go to the Caribbean soon, but with 3 kids I will not hold my breath for too long. With all of these nations being represented I saw many common themes: pride, respect, color, & diversity. Actually this parade & festival is a great example of the African Diaspora – (What is the African Diaspora? The dispersion of Africans during and after the trans-Atlantic slave trade and others enrout to India as slaves and source of labor.)
I am having the kids complete journals this summer & especially for events that we attend, I cannot wait to see what they have to say on parade about this, with words & illustration.
Some Quick Belizean Facts:
- Belize lies on the eastern coastline of Central America, bordered on the north by Mexico, on the west and south by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea.
- Belize’s mainland is approximately 180 miles long and up to 68 miles wide. Belize also consists of over 200 cayes (islands).
- Belize weather is characterized by two seasons: a rainy and a dry season.
- The name Belize is traditionally said to be from the Spanish pronunciation of Wallace, the name of the pirate who created the first settlement in Belize in 1638. Another possibility is that the name is from the Maya word belix, meaning “muddy water”, applied to the Belize River.
- Independent nation since 1981, member of British Commonwealth of Nations.
- Most Belizeans are of multiracial and multiethnic descent, the population of Belize is approximately 280,000. There is a great deal of ethnic diversity among Belizeans, who include Hispanic, Creoles (African-European), Mestizo (Spanish-Indian), Mennonite, Garifuna (African-Indian), Mayan, Anglo-European, Middle Eastern and Asian. The largest single group is Hispanic.
- Languages: English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole