Christmas Traditions in Belize

In Belize, Christmas has always been a huge celebration involving weeks of preparations from the painting of homes, cleaning, baking fruit cakes and preparing the turkey and ham. Can you remember the smell of new linoleum being carted down Albert Street to your home or the smell of fresh wood cleaner to shine your furniture? resizeimage 48In the words of Ray Gongora from Belize City now residing in South Florida recalling and reminiscing his memories of Christmas in Belize: 

"It's a time to change the house and buy new curtains, buy new linoleum for the floor or narley, scrape and varnish all wooden chairs and tables, paint all the walls in the house so the parlor looks spick and span. One makes sure you cook and have enough drinks to share with visitors. Anyone who goes to visit is offered a plate of food, slice of cake and rum popo. 

The Mestizos celebrate with Tamales and Bollos(another form of tamales made differently). Bollos has no cull (traditional sauce made of corn and stewed tomatoes) but rather chicken cooked into the masa. 

The Boom and Shine band comprised of a few men used to go from house to house and play music ( Mr. Peters type of music) using no electrical instruments. This was epic of the times back then. The Jan kunu dances are native of the Garifuna and they also go from house to house. They are invited into your yard to dance for you, and are mostly popular in Dangriga, Toledo, and Stan creek, and Belize City. This is the time when you make extra of everything for all family and friends coming over to share with you." resizeimage 7

While some traditions of old like the house to house Christmas caroling have died off, some are still with us today such as Midnight Mass, black fruit cake, Rum popo, and Las Posadas. Las posadas is a Latin American tradition passed on from our neighboring countries who celebrate for nine days leading up to Christmas Eve, re-enacting Mary and Joseph who sought lodging in Bethlehem, but were refused. 

December is also the month that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated, remembering the appearance of the Virgin Mary over 500 years ago to a short Aztec man, Juan Diego, in Tenochtitlan, or present day Mexico City. 

Whichever is your way of celebrating, whether near of far, may it be a very Happy one and may your New Year be filled with splendor!