Garifuna Culture in Atlantida

Few have heard of the Garifuna Culture, and they do not know that UNESCO has declared it intangible heritage of humanity. The Garifuna Culture is live and thriving in Atlantida!

Garifuna Culture in Atlantida is alive and well! At a first glimpse, it might appear to you that the Garifuna are just descendents of African slaves that were brought to America. This is far from the reality! Although the origins do go back to the days when slave runners would capture Africans and bring them to America as slaves, the ancestors of this ethnic group found an unlikely destiny, when the ship the where transported in was wrecked off the coast of the Island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean.

Those that managed to survive the shipwreck escaped into the island, and befriended the local carib natives, unknowingly creating a new ethnic group, the Garifuna. It was a matter of survival, and both had to fend themselves from a common enemy, the Europeans. The racial mix brought with itself a mixing of cultures and beliefs, each part providing new elements to create this new and unique culture.

Eventually, the Garifuna people became a thorn in the Brits shoes. Thus they were rounded up, thrown in a ship and marooned on the Island of Roatan, in the Bay Islands of Honduras. The Garifuna people arrived to Roatan on April 12, 1797, and soon migrated to the coast of mainland Honduras. Then they spread throughout the entire Caribbean Coast, some making it as far as Belize to the West or Nicaragua to the East.
Knit with the Sea
The Garifuna culture in Atlantida is tightly knit with the sea, and all of their villages and communities are right on the beach. This is a community of fishermen and seafaring people. Despite the fact that most of them profess themselves as Christian, they still have many ancestral beliefs that are part of their roots. They are very musical, and use drums and conch as their main instruments to create the proper rhythms for their very active dances, that usually include a lot of rhythmic hip movements. To this day the Garifuna still speak their own language, and they have made significant contributions to the local gastronomy, including the cassava bread and different seafood dishes.

Experiencing the Garifuna in Atlantida is easy, as there are many villages that are close to both Tela and La Ceiba. The Garifuna are friendly, hospitable people.