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Bring The Spirit Up with the Garifuna’s Annual Jankunu Festival

Everything Belize - A Collection of Words

In Belize, each of the country’s various cultures has moments of celebration that are distinct and add to the overall tapestry of the nation. Even at this time of annual observance, each enlivens the season through activities that are in conversation with the season’s themes of rebirth, celebration, and feting for fete sake. The Garifuna of Belize who first came here to escape persecution in St. Vincent is one such community that brought with them an assortment of rituals intended to commemorate their lives and history. One of the most spectacular among them, the Janukunu festival, comes along at the tail end of each year to remind Belizeans how important they are to the country.

Typically occurring on December 26, the festival held in Dangriga is a means of commemorating African ancestors’ resistance to European slavery, which varied from militant upheaval to theatrical forms intended to mock their master. Borrowing from the Creole, the Garifuna have made it an event to remember through an annual competition.

What is immediately striking about the dance is the way in which the participants are dressed. Each person dancing wears dark-colored trousers and a white shirt to evoke the uniforms of the British colonial military. Then over their head, every performer wears a pink mask with a painted face, sometimes sporting a little mustachio. Over that, they then place an African Arab Bedouin-style wrap.

Most eye-catching of all is the headdress every performer wears, consisting of a crown with rosettes and mirrors. Feathers are placed all over the headdress. Leggings adorned with many seashells are worn over the trousers. The overall impact of the costume is one that’s both joyous and intentionally a bit garish akin to the best drag.

In the dance, exclusively performed by men, participants dance to a 4/4 tempo beat, moving primarily their knees and ankles. The accompanying drummers do their best to keep up with the dancer. At the festival, dancing participants are given ten minutes to demonstrate their skills to the viewing audience. The dance is intended to demonstrate male prowess, and the drummer on the Primero follows the rhythm of the performer in a rare inversion of how music and dance usually work in Garifuna dances.

Throughout the dance, the dancer bends and flexes their knees and ankles, alternately placing their arms out in front of them or to the small of their backs. As the shells shake with the dancer’s footwork, a disorienting percussive array weaves its way through the crowds with dancers, signers, and drummers all combining to create an aural atmosphere distinctly Garifuna.

The Jankunu festival is primarily a celebration, but it’s also a competition among two major Garifuna communities, Dangriga and Seine Bight. Each community vies for the title every year, sending in dancers with ever more elaborate costumes and footwork to topple the competition. Through this dance, they invoke their past while celebrating their continued existence and future.

The Belize Collection with its Hopkins-based resort The Lodge at Jaguar Reef hosts several tours that also give visitors an opportunity to engage in Garifuna culture. Guests can learn more about their food through a Garifuna Cooking class or learn all they’re willing to share through the Ultimate Garifuna Immersion tour. In the birthplace of Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective’s world-renowned Watina, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for one of Belize’s most beloved cultures.

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Dinner

Appetizer

BBQ Pig Tail
US 11 | BZ 22

Smoked salt-cured pork tails, brushed with house barbecue sauce and served with a warm,
hand-made flour tortilla and pickled habanero-onion sauce.

Country Barn Mozzarella Sticks
US 13 | BZ 26

Seasoned, breadcrumb-encrusted mozzarella cheese sticks, deep fried to a crispy
golden finish, served with jalapeño tartar and a
sweet/spicy tomato habanero sauce.

Entree

Herb Tomato Pasta
US 18 | BZ 36

Al dente linguine pasta tossed in a slow-roasted tomato sauce with fresh herbs,
tossed in fresh Country Barn ricotta cheese.

Pollo Asado
US 18 | BZ 36

Tangy herbed chicken cuts grilled to perfection and topped with fresh Mennonite
cheese, served with a warm flour tortilla, re-fried beans, guacamole, and house
pico de gallo.

Oregano Pork Ribs
US 20 | BZ 40

Tender, slow-smoked pork ribs simmered in an all spice-oregano barbecue sauce.

Cocoa-Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank
US 27 | BZ 54

Locally raised lamb shank, slow braised in a rich, fresh ground cacao and red wine
broth, served with a side of warm, home-made bread.

Creole Oxtail Stew
US 27 | BZ 54

Free range oxtail cuts slow-cooked in a rich Creole tomato sauce with farm
vegetables, served with coconut cilantro rice.

Latin American Carne Asada
US 31 | BZ 62

Local beef tenderloin, pan-seared in garlic butter, brushed with home-made
chimichurri cause and served with sides of the evening.

Citrus-Achiote Chop
US 21 | BZ 42

Seared 1″ butcher cut rib chop served with smashed potatoes, grilled zucchini
and slathered with our signature citrus-achiote gravy.

Camarones en Crema de Coco
US 24 | BZ 48

Fresh farm shrimp simmered in hand-pressed coconut milk with organic, reigonal
vegetables, herbs and habanero peppers, served with a side of coconut rice and creole
bread rolls.

Soups

Farmer's Bean Soup
US 10 | BZ 20

Slow-cooked red kidney beans, crowned with crispy chicharrones and pico de gallo,
accompanied by crispy seasoned corn tortilla chips.

Chicken Escabeche
US 13 | BZ 26

Organic chicken cuts, pan fried and simmered in Tia Blanca’s sun-dried oregano, jalapeño, lime,
onion broth, served with warm hand-made corn tortillas.

Salads

Citrus & Arugula Salad
US 13 | BZ 26

Dehydrated orange segments, with fresh arugula, farm vegetables, and sliced
hard-boiled eggs, served with your choice of honey balsamic dressing or our
Grove House signature citrus vinaigrette.

Peanut & Ricotta Salad
US 15 | BZ 30

Toasted local peanuts and crumbled ricotta cheese on baby spinach, purple
onions and, tomatoes, served with your choice of our honey balsamic dressing or
our Grove House signature citrus vinaigrette.

Vegan

Grilled Cauliflower & Chickpea Puree
US 13 | BZ 26

Fresh organic cauliflower drizzled in pressed coconut oil, grilled and served over roasted cherry tomatoes and a cumin chickpea puree.

Ginger Teriyaki Glazed Tofu Steak
US 14 | BZ 28

Grilled bean curd glazed with fresh ginger and soy sauce, accompanied by spinach and cumin chickpea puree.

Sweet Potato & Crostini Soup
US 11 | BZ 22

Slow roasted potatoes in coconut milk and spices, served with freshly toasted crostini.

Sweet Potato & Coconut Creamy Pasta
US 13 | BZ 26

Locally harvested sweet potato served in coconut milk and assorted spices, tossed with al dente linguine pasta and basil leaf.

Farmers Vegetable Lasagna
US 14 | BZ 28

Hand selected farm vegetables over our classic tomato sauce, topped with Mennonite cheese, before being baked to perfection. Served with a bowl of coconut white rice.

Desserts

Coconut Caramel Flan
US 7 | BZ 14
Mayan Chocolate Cake
US 9 | BZ 18
Soursop Cheesecake
US 9 | BZ 18

All prices are inclusive of 12.5% GST and subject to 10% Resort Fee.

Lunch

Appetizer

Country Barn Mozzarella Sticks
US 13 | BZ 26

Seasoned, breadcrumb-encrusted mozzarella cheese sticks, deep fried to a crispy
golden finish, served with jalapeño tartar and a
sweet/spicy tomato habanero sauce.

Shrimp Habanero Fritters
US 14 | BZ 28

Farm-raised shrimp tossed in Belikin beer batter with farm vegetables, habanero
peppers, golden friend and served with roasted garlic aioli dipping sauce.

Entree

Grove House Smoked Brisket Skillet Nachos
US 13 | BZ 26

Shredded slow-smoked local brisket over crisp corn tortilla shells, topped with
re-fried beans, 2 cheeses, and fresh lime cured salsa.

Pollo asado
US 16 | BZ 32

Tangy herbed chicken cuts grilled to perfection and topped with fresh Mennonite
cheese, served with a warm flour tortilla, re-fried beans, guacamole, and house
pico de gallo.

The Giant Burger
US 18 | BZ 36

Toasted home-made burger bun with grilled ground stead patty, topped with melted
cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and a honey plantain mustard cabbage slaw,
served with potato fries.

Sandwich de Cochinita Pibil
US 14 | BZ 28

Slow-smoked pork leg, shredded and served on a freshly made bun, topped with Belizean
style coleslaw and served with potato fries.

Lamb Salbutes
US 15 | BZ 30

Locally butchered free-range lamb grilled to perfection on a golden fried yellow
corn tortilla, topped with marinated cabbage and tomatoes then
drizzled with mint pesto.

Soup

Farmer's Bean Soup
US 10 | BZ 20

Slow-cooked red kidney beans, crowned with crispy chicharrones and pico de gallo,
accompanied by crispy seasoned corn tortilla chips.

Creole Oxtail Stew
US 13 | BZ 26

Free range oxtail cuts slow-cooked in a rich Creole tomato sauce with farm
vegetables, served with coconut cilantro rice.

Salads

Herb & Watermelon Salad
US 12 | BZ 24

Mennonite harvested watermelons, diced and tossed with organic greens, fresh
mint, basil and ricotta cheese with your choice of honey balsamic dressing or oue
Grove House Signature citrust vinaigrette.

Citrus & Arugula Salad
US 12 | BZ 24

Dehydrated orange segments, with fresh arugula, farm vegetables, and sliced
hard-boiled eggs, served with your choice of honey balsamic dressing or our
Grove House signature citrus vinaigrette.

Vegan

Chickpea Curry & Peanut Pasta
US 10 | BZ 20

Al dente linguine pasta tossed in chickpeas and peanut sauce, served alongside a warm, toasted baguette.

Coconut & Ginger Tofu Stew
US 12 | BZ 24

Ginger shredded fresh over coconut milk, herbs and bean curd, served with white rice and fried plantains.

Sundried Tomato & Bean Soup
US 9 | BZ 18

Stewed red kidney beans and crushed sundried tomatoes, spiced to perfection and topped with garlic croutons.

Teriyaki Vegetable Rice Bowl
US 11 | BZ 22

Hand selected market vegetables stir-fried in soy sauce, served with our coconut cilantro white rice and freshly grated ginger and spices.

Black Beans Empanadas
US 8 | BZ 16

Hand pressed yellow corn tortilla stuffed with refried black beans, fried golden brown and served with pickled purple cabbage.

Desserts

Traditional Vanilla Icre Cream
US 5 | BZ 10
Nance-infused Caramel Flan
US 9 | BZ 18
Ayote en Miel with Vanilla Ice Cream
US 9 | BZ 18

All prices are inclusive of 12.5% GST and subject to 10% Resort Fee.

Breakfast

The Little Donkey
US 9 | BZ 18

Breakfast burrito of warm handmade flour tortilla stuffed with re-fried beans, scrambled eggs, crispy
pork bacon, farm vegetables and fresh Mennonite cheese.

Belizean Stuffed Jack
US 10 | BZ 20

Golden fried flour tortilla, stuffed with re-fried beans, sauteed vegetables,
habanero flavored sausage, scrambled eggs, and Mennonite cheese, served with pickled habanero curtido.

The Giant Pancakes
US 10 | BZ 20

2 giant pancakes dusted with cinnamon sugar, topped with tropical fruit chutney, served with a side of grilled habanero flavored sausage.

The Village Breakfast
US 11 | BZ 22

Farm fresh eggs scrambled with onions and tomatoes, accompanied by
coconut refried beans, crispy bacon and Belizean fried jacks.

Chef's Farm Omelette
US 10 | BZ 20

2-egg omelette filled with sauteed organic vegetables, served with toasted
baguettes and fresh Mennonite ricotta cheese

Continental
US 12 | BZ 24

In-house baked goods, locally grown fruit, Mennonite yogurt and coffee.

Vegan

Tofu & Guacamole Journey Cakes
US 8 | BZ 16

Pan-fried bean curd and guacamole served on a journey cake, arugula balsamic salad serviced with seasonal fruit wedges.

Irish Potatoes & Chickpeas Hash
US 7 | BZ 14

Potato cubes, chickpeas, and other farm-fresh vegetables pan-seared in coconut oil, spiced with toasted cumin and served with handmade corn tortillas.

Coconut & Vanilla Cinnamon Toast
US 7 | BZ 14

Freshly-baked slices of toast dipped in vanilla cinnamon coconut milk, charred to perfection on a griddle, and topped with honey-glazed tropical fruit salsa.

Vegan Breakfast
US 9 | BZ 18

Coconut flavored refried beans, fried plantain, sautéed okra and tomatoes served with golden brown fried jacks.

Sweet Potato & Red Bean Burrito
US 8 | BZ 16

Organic roasted sweet potato cubes sauteed with hand selected farm fresh vegetables, red kidney beans, crispy romaine lettuce and guacamole, wrapped up in handmade flour torilla.

All prices are inclusive of 12.5% GST and subject to 10% Resort Fee.