It was a multicultural fest at the University of Belize this afternoon. The Belmopan Campus’ gymnasium was the venue for a celebration of Belize’s cultures. Students displayed the cultures that make up Belize’s melting pot in various forms including dance, song, storytelling and booth presentations. PlusNews first stopped by the Mestizo booth and got quite an interesting account on how the culture emerged in Belize.
Jacklyn Urbina :
We just have a booth representing the Mestizo culture. We have the food. We have the Artifacts. We have the Altar that we use for the Novenas.
Ronaldo Romero :
A lot of people say that the Mestizo have a lot of tradition because of the Mayas, but then you have to understand that a Spanish man mixed with a Maya, which made the Mestizo culture that we know now as Mestizos.
Next, the East Indian group gave us a quick lesson on their cultural foods are prepared.
Koieesa Guitierrez :
We are focusing on the food and the main contribution of East Indian to our Belizean Nation. The East Indians have contributed in different ways. They have established different restaurants. They are selling their music also.
East Indian food is really spicy. For example, we do curried chicken. The way how they do their curried chicken is with ricardo, and it’s really spicy.
The Creole Culture brought out a full display of their traditional food. We also learned about the origin of the people.
Creole originated from the Caribbean. They are direct descendants of the Africans and the Europeans. The Africans and the Europeans came to Belize and they settled in Belize itself. They then mingled with each other and then after that the Creole started to disperse all over the district. What attracts people the most is the food; everyone is attracted by their stomachs. We will start at the breakfast – this is what the Creole use – the cross bun, it is simply a cross and the bun. This used because of length. These are usually used for breakfast – the bread, the bun and natural juices. Then the Sunday dinner – we have the rice and beans with the boil up and we have the fry fish with vegetable rice or carrot rice. They usually drink natural juices and fruits from Belize – papaya, mango, orange lime, watermelon and muskmelon.
There was also a booth dedicated to African and its ties to Belize.
When we try to connect this to the Belizean context, we just look at how African literature is so relateable to the Belizean literature in terms of the culture that they portray. There is this dynamic of the fight for independence and just how diverse cultures are and the role that cultures play in forming an identity after colonialism has stepped in and even after they come out, you still that barrier of trying to find out who are we? Do we go back to who we were or do we adapt a new personality now that colonialism has actually moved away.
Meanwhile the Garifuna, Mennonite, Taiwanese and the Maya cultures were also displayed, with free samples of their food and drinks, as well as a viewing of their artifacts. Also present at the event was the Governor General His Excellency. He entertained the crowd with one of his short stories. The Multicultural Day was organized by the Faculty of Education and Arts.