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Getting close to Belize

Identification. Previously called British Honduras, the country now known as Belize derives its name from one of two historical sources: Maya root words or the surname of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, who maintained a camp near present-day Belize City in the seventeenth century. Belizeans affectionately refer to their country as "the Jewel."

The formation of a consciousness of a national culture coincided with the growth of the nationalist movement in the 1950s toward independence. It was a phenomenon that occurred simultaneously among neighboring British West Indian colonies.

Ethnic and geographic identification coincides with the areas where ethnic groups settled. In the north and west there are the mestizos, people formed by the union of Spaniards and Maya. In the central part, there are the Creoles, formed by the intermarriage of the British and their African slaves. In the south, there are the Garifuna, also called Black Caribs, along the coast and the Maya farther inland.

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Belize International Film Festival

The Belize International Film Festival is an international film festival held annually in Belize City, Belize since 2003.

It focuses on Central American and Caribbean films. In 2005 a presentation was given on Nicaraguan cinema. In 2012, for the first time in its history a Belizean feature film (2012: Kurse a di Xtabai) was presented as the opening night movie.

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Sprog i Belize

Det officielle sprog er engelsk, som også tales i mere eller mindre kreoliseret form. Belize domineres af spansktalende; man har med spanskundervisning i folkeskolen sat aktiv ind for at opnå spansk-engelsk tosprogethed på landsbasis.

Der findes tillige tysktalende mindretal. Desuden taler en lille del af den indianske befolkning maya, kekchi og garifuna.

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Befolkningsgrupper

Folket: Den «engelske» befolkningsgruppe, af afrikansk afstamning, som rent historisk udgjorde flertallet er nu reduceret til at indtage andenpladsen med 29,8% af befolkningen, mens befolkningstilvæksten blandt de spansktalende har resulteret i at de nu repræsenterer 43,6%. Maya-indianere udgør 11%; garifunas 6,7%; den europæiske minoritetsgruppe 3,9%, indere 11%, samt en del kinesere og arabere.

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Nationalflag

Flaget stammer i sin nuværende form fra 1981. Statsvåbenet i midten med et mahognitræ, landets naturprodukt, og symboler for træfældning og handel holdt af en mestiz og en kreol blev officielt i 1907, men stammer fra begyndelsen af 1800-tallet.

Da det blå flag med våbenet især blev forbundet med ét bestemt politisk parti, Folkets Forenede Parti, blev de to smalle røde striber tilføjet, idet rød er Det Forenede Demokratiske Partis farve.

Nationalt motto: SUB UMBRA FLOREO (Under skygge jeg blomstrer).

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Andy Palacio - Cultural Ambassador

Andy Vivian Palacio (December 2, 1960 – January 19, 2008) was a Belizean Punta musician and government official. He was also a leading activist for the Garínagu and their culture. Palacio was born and raised in the coastal village of Barranco and worked briefly as a teacher before turning to music. He sang mainly in Garifuna, an Arawakan language with a large number of words borrowed from Carib, French, and Spanish, but also composed English-only songs. He was the first musical artist from Belize to have a music video on international television. He received the award for "Best New Artist" at the Caribbean Music Awards in 1991, and was posthumously awarded the BBC3 Awards for World Music award in the Americas Category, in 2008.

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Culture of Belize

The Belizean culture is made up of influences and people from Kriol, Maya, Garinagu (also known as Garifuna), Mestizo (a mixture of Spanish and Native Americans), 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.

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. This is known to be done by burying a bottle with the 'evil' under a tree close by the house.

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Mærkedage

9. marts: Baron Bliss Dag, til minde om en britisk adelsmand, der forelskede sig i Belize og gav millioner af dollars til gode formål.

10. september: Belize Nationaldag, der fejrer slaget i St. Georges Caye.

21. september: Uafhængighedsdagen. Alle dagene mellem d. 10.-21. september er festdage.

12. oktober er Columbus dag. Årsdagen for Columbus' ankomst.

19. november er Garífuna Bosættelsesdag, der fejrer ankomsten af garinagus (sorte caribiere) i kanoer fra Honduras i 1823. Har du mulighed for det, er Dangriga byen, hvor det er sjovt at opleve festivalen, da der sker en masse.

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