Culture of Belize: Wikis

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Altun Ha archaeological site in Belize, a remnant of Mayan culture

The Belizean culture is made up of fluences and people from Kriol, Maya, Garinagu (also known as Garifuna), Mestizo (a mixture of Spanish and Native Americns), Mennonites who are of German descent, with a blend of many other cultures from Chinese to Lebanese. It is a unique blend that emerged through the country's long and occasionally violent history.[1]

Courtesy is important to most Belizeans. It is not uncommon for Belizeans to greet each other on the street even if they have never seen each other before, or for acquaintances to spend minutes at a time chatting, oblivious to what is happening around them. Another aspect of the culture is the idea of the mystical healing and Obeah. However, there is still talk of evil shaman practices like putting "Obeah" on certain houses.

Contents

Folklore

In their folklore, we find the legends of La Llorona, Cadejo, La Sucia, the Tata Duende and X'tabai.

Marriage and Family

Belizean marriages are commonly celebrated with church weddings and colorful receptions featuring food, drink and dance. An increasing number of Belizean families are headed by single parents, especially mothers. Due to this trend, many of the present-day youths approve to pursue marriage and get involved in common law relationships with their partners. It is not common to encounter youths living with their parents around the age of 20 or above.

As a consequence of this trend, the most common family structure in Belize is the single-parent family. However, there is a nominal number of grandparents raising the children, with or without the help of one of the parents. Most Belizean families either own or rent some type of house, typically wooden or concrete, and built to withstand minor fires and floods. However, when the hurricane seasons come around, most people will evacuate.

Food and Eating

Belizeans of all ethnicities eat a wide variety of foods. Breakfast consists of bread, flour tortillas, johnny cakes, or fry jacks that are often homemade. It is eaten with various cheeses (Dutch cheese, band back cheese, craft cheese, etc.) refried beans, various forms of eggs or cereal (corn flakes, oatmeal) sweetened with condensed milk. Morning beverages include milk, coffee, tea, Milo, Ovaltine, Cocoa, orange juice (fresh or concentrated). Eating breakfast is called "drinking tea." Midday meals vary, from lighter foods like beans and rice with or without coconut milk, tamales, panades, (fried maize (corn) shells with beans or fish) and meat pies, escabeche (onion soup), chilmole (black soup made with black recardo), stew chicken and garnaches (fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and cabbage sauce) to various constituted dinners featuring some type of rice and beans, meat and salad or coleslaw. In the rural areas meals may be more simplified than in the cities; the Maya use recado, corn or maize for most of their meals, and the Garifuna are fond of fish and other seafood, cassava (particularly made into hudut) and vegetables. The nation abounds with restaurants and fast food establishments selling fairly reasonable. Local fruits and certain vegetables are quite common. Mealtime is a communion for families and schools and some businesses close at midday for lunch, reopening later in the afternoon.

Socializing

Belizeans are informal and friendly in greeting one another; it is considered rude not to greet even a slight acquaintance, the clerk or receptionist when entering a place of business. It is, however, considered impolite to greet by first names, (gial, and bwai are common and acceptable) unless one has already established a relationship of some depth (you have had one or more conversations together). A simple nod of the head or shouting is acceptable when passing someone on the street, and acquaintances might also be greeted with any number of introductory phrases as covered here:

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