Christmas traditions of Belize.While many Belizeans celebrate Christmas in the American way of simply decorating a tree and waiting in Santa Claus with the children, many other local traditions are still alive. Here are some Christmas traditions in Belize that make celebrating here a unique experience.
The Christmas Bram is a celebration with roots in the Belize district specifically in the old city of Belize and the surrounding villages and is native to the Belize kriol culture. The Bram is similar to the "Christmas carols", where people make their way through the streets singing and playing Brukdong music while dancing from house to house to spread good humor. Although it is not celebrated so much in present-day Belize City, towns like Wales Point Manatee participate in the Christmas Bram every year.
Garifuna dance Jankunu
In Dangriga, Christmas afternoon is usually reserved for Wanaragua or Jankunu. Jankunu dancers wear white long-sleeved shirts and pants with shell belts tied around the knees and pink masks with European features. These costumes are made to imitate the masters of slaves. The dance became common during the Christmas season because it was the only time when families had the freedom to gather and make fun of their European masters of slavery. Now, days after Christmas, there is a Jankunu competition in Dangriga that is a competition between the older Jankunu dancers of southern Belize - namely Dangriga and Seine Bight.
Garifuna dance Jankunu
Las Posadas are held in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo and begins on December 16. This nine-day tradition includes prayers, music, songs, dances and food. The celebration begins when the Saints (usually statues of Mary and Joseph) are taken out of the Church through a procession of marimba music, candles and fireworks that lead to a preselected home. Once the statues are welcome inside the house, a novena (prayer) is made. Every night after the ninth, light refreshments are served and then the statues are left with the host family for the night the participants leave. The procession and the novena take place again the following days before Christmas day.
One of the main elements that can make or break Christmas anywhere is food and Belize is no exception. Candies are usually prepared days in advance so that the delicious Belizean rum is potent in fruit pies and rum poop. The preparation of the meal for Christmas day begins on Christmas Eve, and the great meal consists of rice and beans, potato salad, turkey, breadcrumbs, cranberry jam with cherry and ham garnished with pineapple. Mestizos usually celebrate Christmas with white chicken stuffing with stuffed pork and roasted olives served with hot corn tortillas. Most Mayans celebrate with chicken tamales as their traditional food.
Christmas Tree Lighting
The lighting of the Christmas tree has been an annual tradition in Belize City, where everyone gathered in Battlefield Park to witness how the mayor lit the tall Christmas tree officially at the beginning of the Christmas season in Belize. Now, the occasion has moved to Mule Park.
With a large part of the population belonging to the Christian faith, the midnight mass is an integral part of Belizean culture. Everyone puts on their best clothes and heads to his church to celebrate the birth of Jesus with joyful songs and prayers to bring Christmas morning.
Among all Belizeans, Christmas is a time to clean and decorate the house. In preparation for family and friends expected or unexpected, the house is cleaned, new curtains are often hung and Christmas decorations are lit.