Dreaming of Lebeha Drumming Center Hopkins Village
There are so many reasons to love Belize, and as a Belizean it makes me beyond proud to hear travellers say “The snorkelling was great BUT- my favourite part of Belize would have to be the people. They’re so friendly.”
The truth is our wildlife, marine life and tour activities are great, but there is unexplainable warmth that radiates from our people. And in no way or form is this an act, in fact- it’s our culture! We’re a small country with a “small town” feel, everyone knows everyone in most towns, and we still greet each other the time of day with a smile. So when guests visit Belize, it is in this same regard that they’re treated-Like long-time friends being reunited 🙂
I’ve always been a fan of experiencing cultures, Belize is indeed a melting pot, and my existence alone attests to that as I came trickling down from a family tree of Kriol and Lebanese heritage.

One of my favorite cultures though, would definitely be the Garifuna culture. The Garinagu are descendants of African slaves and Arawak Indians who found refuge in southern Belize (British Honduras at the time) on November 18th, 1982 (Garifuna Settlement Day). They hold on to such a rich culture expressed through music, dance, food and language, and while all are great- I’m definitely a fan of the DRUMMING!

Garifuna Settlement Day Re-enactment-1
I look forward to the 19th of November annually just to get a chance to see all the Jankunu dancers in their cultural costumes getting down to the beat of the drums! The music honestly pulls you up to your feet and even if you aren’t the best “punta” dancer (guilty), you still find yourself getting down! There’s so much joy in the music. Today there are small schools across the country that teaches recreational cultural drumming to primary school students as a means to keep teach the children a new skill as well as instilling a love and appreciation for Belizean culture.

Lebeha Drumming Center

Picture courtesy of Lebeha Drumming Center Face Book page

So….my next travelling goal then is to visit Lebeha Drumming Center in Hopkins Village. There’ s so much I’ve heard of this place! Lebeha is a center that was set up Jabbar Lambey and his wife as an educational and cultural center for local kids and events and has blossomed into so much more! Today it is one of the main attractions in Hopkins Village for visitors wanting to know more about the culture!

Black and White Garifuna Culture Center-10
The guys at Lebeha put on a drumming showdown almost every night and even give lessons to groups and individuals! I’ve heard that the FULL MOON Drumming parties are a MUST oh and that you even get a few dance lessons! Sounds like my kind of party! Where can I sign up?
So get to know more about this rich culture on your next trip to Belize…….oh and stay tuned for my “soon-to-come” visit to Lebeha Drumming Center, who knows, they might just make me an honarary member! 🙂

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About the Author: Tamara Sniffin

I’m a sucker for a fuzzy face, a feathered face, a face with fins or even one with scales! I am in love with the creatures and the flora that are synonymous with Belize and every opportunity I have to learn more about them and explore their wild habitats I am there! I’m the happiest when I’m snorkeling the reef and swimming with turtles, however my passion is not just limited to critters! Laced throughout this compact jungle gem of a country live the Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo and Spanish people, and experiencing each culture, especially their celebrations is one of my favorite pastimes.

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