Belizean Culture: What other lifestyle could there be?

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Sailing in Belize

 Grand Caribe Beach The culture of Belize is not defined by a strict set of characteristics but rather a plethora of values, beliefs, ethics and traditions which Belizeans find something in common. The classic case of “everyone knows someone whose…” These characteristics can be seen as either negative or positive. A popular example would be “Belizean Time,” which does not apply to everyone, professionals are professionals but it is the rule of thumb. If a Belizean plans an event for 7pm, then they invite their guests for at least 6pm hoping they’ll arrive at 7pm, knowing that most won’t come until 8pm. This amongst other choice characteristics are the basis of Belizean Culture.

This unique culture is further magnified by the smallness of the country and its matching population. The theory of “5 degrees of separation” quite possibly can be broken down to two or three. Every Belizean growing up could go home and say “I’m going to Sam’s house”, and have his/her father say “Sam? John Smith’s boy from Regent St?” and the mother saying “I went to school with his mother” or better yet Grandma pipes in with “Sam Smith? I dated his grandfather!” I dare you to go to any small town such as San Pedro and pull out the name of your most recent Belizean acquaintance and someone in your vicinity will say “Yeah I know him/her” with some anecdote such as “works at Grand Caribe” or “that’s my neighbor” or “that’s my cousin;” after all as we all know in a small town its 2 degrees to family.

belize art

Tropical wall decorations

Laid-Back is the way to be This culture is so laid-back by tradition that we don’t even bother to learn street names. After all, the streets in San Pedro Town are not referred to by their names but rather by front, middle, and back; and the other streets simply don’t exist by any name at all. Instead we give directions by using landmarks and people’s homes. Hence, to get to Grand Caribe Resort from the airport you go straight, turn right when you buck the end, then turn left (that’s front street), then go until you see Belize Bank now turn left again, then turn the first right (that’s middle street) now just GO…until you pass the bridge and continue to GO until you see the big buildings.

Simple right….?

And that’s how you get everywhere here. Ready to be filled with an array of treats Belizeans are proud of these qualities, the limited degrees of separation, bad timing, a skewed sense of location and the laid-back quality of life (after all this is the Caribbean) or at the very least their laid-back personalities take everything with a grain of salt and a sense of humor. They are also just as proud of their individual cultures, as they are of their unifying one. Belize is unique, given that it is nestled between Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean their are many individual cultures which people hold onto. Yet a Mayan, a Creole, a Garifuna, and a Mestizo can all get together, have a Belikin beer, and have good conversation despite their individual roots because of their shared Belizean heritage. Each will be able to speak Ketchi, English, Garinagu and Spanish respectively but when together will speak Kriol,and these are only the most dominant and oldest ethnicities. Nowadays every group has a sprinkling of second generation Chinese, East Indian, Arab or Mennonite.

With such an array of backgrounds, food is a lovely mosaic of tastes and smells. Tea time (from British colonial days) can be found in any home. A Belizean home will smell differently everyday. Mon-Thurs is ever changing but Fri-Sun its a given that 90% of the population will eat at least one of three meals, Chinese fry chicken, street vendor BBQ or Rice and Beans with Stew Chicken dinner. Visitors can choose to eat from just about any ethnicity; especially now, with expats from all over the world opening up restaurants.

Grand Caribe Grounds So come to Belize where the sand, sea and surf invite you to immerse yourself into the surrounding culture. See our cultural characteristics as positives and loose your sense of timing, location, and problems and become a laid-back Belizean even if just for a while. After all, Belizeans tend to live for the day and eat and drink and party to their merry hearts content, because on an island in the Caribbean Sea, what other lifestyle could there be?

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