Annual Garifuna Celebration in April

The Garifuna are a mix of people from West Africa, Carib Islands, and Central Africa. Known by British colonial administrators in the early days as “Black Carib” and “Garifuna” so that they could be distinguished from “Red” or “Yellow” Caribs which were the original Amerindian population before intermixing with Africans. It is believed that the Black Carib or Garifuna are descendants of the Igneri people. The Igneri became residents of the Lesser Antilles, present day St. Vincent, Trinidad, and Dominica.

The celebration includes a long march, by foot and boat, all along the bay and into Punta Gorda, East part of the island, Roatan, bay Islands, Honduras. The activity celebrates both the arrival of the Garifuna and their new-founded freedom as they escaped centuries of slavery under Spanish & British Rule.

The festival also includes animated theatrical performances that celebrate the first arrival of the very first Garifuna group from Yurime, which is a small region east of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. The first Garifuna people came from Yurime in 1797.

The event is the best display of the Garifuna culture. Roatan locals dress the part and chant traditional songs in their native Garifuna language. The Garifuna come to live with their dances, drums, and colorful attires.  

The local festivities include the serving of typical foods like coconut bread & Machuca (mashed plantain & plantain soup). But the local beverage of “Guifity” is a key attraction. Guifity is an alcoholic beverage which mixes rum, roots and mixed herbs into a bitter drink.

Welcome to Roatan!!

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