The 17th annual Battle of the Drums Competition and Show is returning for the first time in two years since the pandemic hit and with only a few more days to spare, the tempo among competitors and spectators is growing by the minute as they await the return of one of the biggest cultural events in the country.
The Battle of the Drums as it is known locally is scheduled to take place this weekend on November 12th at the Punta Gorda Sporting Complex. It is held annually the weekend prior to Garifuna Settlement Day celebration and is used as a means to pay tribute to the Garifuna people, and their culture through traditional music. With the event being put on pause for two years due to the pandemic and having to revert to online, this year’s celebration is promising to be the biggest yet, with not only local competitors but drummers from Honduras and Guatemala, for a face-to-face duel. The competition will include Garifuna musical genres in gunjei, hungu hungu, parranda, punta and punta rock subgenres.
History of the Battle of the Drums
First introduced on November 17th, 2006, the first competition was held in Punta Gorda Town, and having been well received among competitors, locals, and visitors the event was dubbed a major success. Within the following two years, word of the competition had not only spread across the country but in the neighboring Garifuna communities across the border in Guatemala and Honduras, sparking interest among drummers, and drawing a much larger audience. While the festivities serve as a venue to display the Garifuna culture and music, proceeds from the sale of tickets are used to fund Garifuna cultural projects within Punta Gorda Town and other communities.
History of the Garifuna People
The Garifuna people in Belize are descendants of a shipwreck slave ship who intermarried with the Arawak Indians of the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. To escape further persecution, they fled to Central America, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Over the years they have settled along the coast of Belize in areas such as Dangriga which is considered the cultural capital as well as Punta Gorda, Hopkins, Seine Bight, and other smaller communities in the south. Garinagu are a proud set of people who have managed to preserve their unique culture through songs, dance, food, and language. They mostly express themselves through their dance and music, which have specific functions and are embedded with their values, morals, history, and identity.
Where to Stay When in The South
Whether or not you can keep up with the fast-paced dancing and drumming, we can guarantee that by the end of the day you will be beaten by exhaustion and looking for that perfect escape. We suggest that you take advantage of our impeccable service at Chabil Mar. We pride ourselves in being a top-tier resort located in Placencia Village and within close proximity to Punta Gorda Town where the event is scheduled to take place.