Third Annual GARIFUNA Tribute To The Ancestors To Take Place at Orchard Beach in the Bronx on SATURDAY June 4th 2016

 

Garifuna Non-Profit Organization Hondurans Against AIDS Inc (a.k.a. “Casa Yurumein”) presents the Third Annual Garifuna Tribute to the Ancestors.  This activity will take place on SATURDAY, June 4th 2016 at Orchard Beach in the Bronx at 10am.

Copyright 2016 by Teofilo Colon Jr. (a.k.a. “Tio Teo”).  All Rights Reserved. Telephone: (646) 961-3674.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.


This event is one of two separate events / activities in New York City that are occasions to not only explore Garifuna Spirituality, but also reflect on the Garifuna Experience.  With various instances of violations against the Garifuna people throughout the world taking place, perhaps an occasion to think deeply about the plight of the Garifuna people is welcome.

Members of The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the 2014 Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors. Photo courtesy of Casa Yurumein’s Facebook Profile.

Members of The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the 2014 Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors. Photo courtesy of Casa Yurumein’s Facebook Profile.

Called an IYURAHANI Ceremony (from the Garifuna word “Iyunaü”, meaning “Ancestor” or “Forefather”).  This event is a ceremony of Thanks and Uplifting.  Offerings of Food are given and Drums and Maracas are played, Singing also takes place, all to appease the ancestors  “IYUNAGU” (plural for “Ancestors” in the Garifuna Language).

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

For some, the music, the singing and the instruments combine to possess the participants and ancestral advice is given to those while possessed.  This ceremony is an attempt to maintain aspects of Garifuna cultural tradition and spirituality.

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the Tribute to Garifuna Ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in June 2014. Photo by Milton Guity.

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the Tribute to Garifuna Ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in June 2014. Photo by Milton Guity.

Ceremonies like this typically take place in Central America and aspects of it appear to be similar to the Dügü ceremony for those who have recently passed on or are sick.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

That this activity is taking place in New York City, as opposed to Central America is noteworthy.  When it took place last year for the first time, I was unable to write about it here on this website.  I couldn’t help but wonder, what brought this event about?  How did this activity come to be in New York City?

Mirtha Colon, Founder and Executive Director of Garifuna non-profit organization, Hondurans Against AIDS Inc (a.k.a. “Casa Yurumein”) explained that a special phone call set this unique activity in motion.

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the Tribute to Garifuna Ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in June 2014. Photo by Milton Guity.

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the Tribute to Garifuna Ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in June 2014. Photo by Milton Guity.

In 2014, Dr. Claire A. Nelson, Jamaican Founder and President of the Institute  of Caribbean Studies (ICS), who as a Senior Development Equity Specialist for the Inter-American Development Bank, spent 30 years (1981 through 2012) providing strategic leadership for that Bank’s efforts of promoting social and economic inclusion and development with equity for people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean; called Mirtha Colon and asked about setting up a Garifuna Tribute to the Ancestors in New York City.  The idea being the official formation of a public event that would further galvanize and develop the community of this unique ethnic group consisting of members of the African Diaspora.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

That phone call between Dr. Claire A. Nelson and Mirtha Colon set in motion a chain of events that led to the first Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors in 2014.  Miss Mirtha Colon subsequently introduced the idea via a series of phone calls to Guatemalan Garifuna Religious Figure and Activist Carlos Gotay, Honduran Garifuna Dancer, Singer Felix Gamboa and Honduran Buyei (“Spiritual Leader” in the Garifuna Language) Tola Guerrero.

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the Tribute to Garifuna Ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in June 2014. Photo by Milton Guity.

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York at the Tribute to Garifuna Ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in June 2014. Photo by Milton Guity.

While Mirtha Colon was unable to be at the 2014 Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors due to her attendance at an international conference (she is in Washington D.C. for another conference), her successful delegation of responsibilities to respected members of the Garifuna community in New York City (Carlos Gotay, Felix Gamboa, Tola Guerrero) led to the successful inaugural implementation of this activity.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

Ironically, this Tribute To The Ancestors coincides with a similar Annual Tribute which takes place in Coney Island, Brooklyn every June (2015 makes 26 years since they began it).  The Coney Island Tribute To The Ancestors memorializes enslaved Africans who died at sea in their forced passage to the Americas.  Hundreds of New York City Residents attend this Annual Tribute to pray, drum, remember, wade in the water and leave flowers at the shoreline.

Mirtha Colon also explained to me that upon the completion of the 2014 Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors, she was alerted to a similar Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors Event that takes place in Southern California.  However, she hasn’t gotten much information or confirmation of that activity.

Based Garifuna towns and villages being on the coast of Central American countries, various aspects of Garifuna culture and history are connected to nature.  Specifically the sea, the water.  Events like this can help remind participants to our inter-connectedness with nature.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

The Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors Will Take Place at Orchard Beach in the Bronx on SATURDAY, June 4th 2016 at 10am.  Those considering attending may want to bring a change of clothes as well as socks and shoes.  A bag to put clothes that may become soiled by sand and a couple of towels should be brought.  I am not aware of a dress code, but based on photos from last year’s Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors, participants are encouraged to wear traditional Garifuna clothing and perhaps be dressed in white.

Scheduled to perform at this Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors are the New York City Based Garifuna Cultural Dance Companies:

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York

Hamalali Wayunagu Garifuna Folkloric and Modern Dance Company

Budari Dance Company

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DIRECTIONS TO ORCHARD BEACH

Admission to Orchard Beach is FREE, but there is a fee for parking ($9 on the weekends).  Orchard Beach is accessible by public transportation.  The BX 5, BX 12, BX 29 and BX 52 all go to Orchard Beach.  Take the 6 Train to the Pelham Bay Park Subway Station in the Bronx and then once there, take the Bus to Orchard Beach.

For those traveling by car, the Bruckner Expressway/New England Thruway has two park exits, “Country Club Road / Pelham Bay Park” and “Orchard Beach / City Island”.  So does the Hutchinson River Parkway at “Pelham Parkway East” and “Orchard Beach / City Island”.  Pelham Parkway serves as a crosstown route to the park.

 

2016 Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors will Take place on SATURDAY, June 4th 2016 at Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

2016 Garifuna Tribute To The Ancestors will Take place on SATURDAY, June 4th 2016 at Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

 

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