Garifuna-Traditional Gathering and Mourning/Celebration of the Ancestors

As the title of my blog states I am Garifuna and there is a whole of tradition and ritual that goes with that. As the American part of the family has connected more with extended relatives we have been learning and participating in more family rituals and ceremonies.

On Sunday Oct 4 we had what was essentially a remembrance ceremony or deceased relatives, my biological father and my second cousin Eddie among them.

The day started with a 9:30 Mass at Our Savior Catholic Church

Mass- Chuch

Afterward we headed to my Auntie Carol’s house where the cultural ceremony would begin.

(Sorry no pictures allowed of the table)

-Setting up the table for the deceased. It has pictures of the most recently deceased. Eddie was in the center with the largest photo because he passed in November 2014 and my father had the smaller photo because he passed in October 2012

Formal: candle, rosary, crucifix, Santa Barbara, Blue roses

Personal items/food/drink/ of the deceased- Corona was one of the things Eddie and my dad liked to drink, photos, etc.

-Because this is a celebration of their lives as well as a remembrance there’s LOTS of food

Mostly traditional food like and other

Hudut- green & yellow plantain mash with fish in a coconut soup (image from
Hudut- green & yellow plantain mash with fish in a coconut soup
(image from

Traditional breads including but not limited to

Johnny Cake (image from maxresdefault)
Johnny Cake (image from maxresdefault)

Rice -rice & black beans, rice and red beans, rice and shrimp, white rice, rice and beans.

Curry chicken


Pork ribs

Here is the ceremony conducted my the elders, PrimoDeki and his mother Tia Paula.

Plates of food are placed in the remembrance table my the parents of the deceased first then the rest of the relatives. These full portion plates too. The deceased have to have received their portion of every prepared food item before the living eat.

Then we EAT!!!

I had every kind of rice on my plate so I had to go back for chicken.

After everyone eating the ceremony, led my Deki and mostly in Spanish.

Our Father Prayer

-Oracion de Santas read by Tia Paula

-prayer and words by Deki

-Individuals go up and say their words of remembrance etc

Auntie Velma (Eddie’s mother) took it very hard and I had to get the Florida Water (Spanish people know what I’m talking about)

Then there is the blessing ritual.

Then we can go share the food from the remembrance table.

It was an emotional experience for everyone but we were all better for it. I was able to see my new cousin Christian (2 yrs old) for the first time and a lot of new relatives as well.

To my family, if I got anything wrong let me know so I can fix it.


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