Located on Central America’s east coast, Belize is a small country with a population of 385,854 individuals. The majority of the population is a mix of European and Amerindian descent (52.9% of the population). Other ethnic minorities in the country include Creole (a mixed ethnic group of European and African descent), Maya, Garifuna, East Indian, Mennonite, white, Asian, etc. Due to the ethnic diversity of Belize, many languages are spoken in the country. However, English is the official language and is spoken by 62.9% of the population. Spanish is spoken by 56.6% of Belizeans. Creole, Maya, Garifuna, German, etc., are also spoken by large sections of the population. Christianity is the religion of the vast majority of the population of Belize. Roman Catholics and Protestants account for 40.1% and 31.5% of the country’s population, respectively. Followers of other Christian denominations and other religions represent the rest of the population.
The cuisine of the country reflects the influences of cuisines of its various ethnic communities. Breakfasts usually consist of flour tortillas, bread, or fry jacks. They are eaten with eggs, cheese, refried beans, etc. Coffee, tea, or milk is also consumed. Midday meals are kept simple and usually include rice and beans, fried meat pies, onion soup, chicken stew with garnaches, etc. Dinner includes some type of rice and bean combination that is served with a meat dish and salad. The Mayans in the rural areas prefer corn and recado in their meals while the Garifuna peoples consume cassava, vegetables, and seafood. A large number of fruits and vegetables are also part of the Belizean diet.
Literature And The Arts In Belize
Belize has a rich tradition of oral literature that includes folktales and legends, heroic epics, war tales, etc. Very little of this literature has been, however, preserved in writing. There is only a small body of written literature in the country but it is slowly growing. Sculpture and painting are the best forms of graphic arts in Belize. Wooden sculptures of the country are famous for their beauty.
Performance Arts In Belize
The Afro-Caribbean style of Garifuna music called Punta is the most popular genre in the country. The style has the potential to captivate international audiences. Another indigenous music genre in Belize is Brukdown. It is related to Calypso and is based on the music and dance of the logger community. The various genres of music adapted from the neighboring countries like the soca, dancehall, and reggae of Jamaica, as well as rock music, heavy metal, rap, and hip-hop from the US, are all hugely popular among the Belizean youth. Acting and drama are also an integral part of the Belizean culture.
Sports In Belize
Sport is an integral part of the Belizean culture. Football is the most popular spectator sport in the country. Other popular games played by the Belizeans include softball, volleyball, cricket, netball, rugby, etc. The country also offers great water sports and recreational activities like diving, snorkeling, swimming, canoeing, etc. Every year on Easter, an international cross-country cycling race is held in Belize.
Life In A Belizean Society
Men and women hold a nearly equitable status in society. Women-led households are common among the Garifuna and Creoles of Belize. However, women representation in the workforce is low. Very few women hold important ranks in politics, business, and administration.
Marriages in Belize are usually held in the church and are followed by elaborate receptions with food, music, and dances. Today, there is a growing trend of partners involved in common law relationships rather than the formal marriage. Households in the country are usually nuclear in nature. Many single-parent, especially single mother households also exist today. Grandparents are often involved in raising children. Belizean youth live with their parents beyond their adulthood.
Belizeans greet everyone including even the slight acquaintances in a warm and friendly manner. However, first names should not be used with the exception of already established relationships where the first name is used. Belizeans are great hosts and ensure that their guests feel warm and comfortable.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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