The lifestyle and way of life in Belize has great diversity, but for many people
life seems to focus on family and friends. Socialization always trumps work, but
jobs are needed to sustain life and support the people's families, making it
a large part of the daily way of life just as it is throughout the world today.
The Belizeans struggle to identify, or more specifically
to define their identity as many people consider themselves to be Belizean. This
identity is heavily based on the people's nationality and little else as the
country is a mix of numerous traits. Ethnically the people are quite divided as
some people are a mix of various ancestries, while others are almost wholly African,
Mayan, or European. While recent immigrants cling to their ethnic identity, most
people are a mix of too many ethnicities for that to be a defining characteristic.
Their history is also divided as the United Kingdom
ruled the country for a number of years so their language, food, and culture is
quite unique compared to their neighbors and even many of the locals are confused
as to what foods, clothing, music, and language define what it means to be "Belizean."
Because of this confusion, the term is rather vague, but still quite unifying as
it is a very inclusive term based on nationality.
Also due to these conflicts and their storied past, many people tend to first identify
with their ethnicity, if one can be established. The Mayans tend to use this as
their primary means of identification and many of the British do as well. The creoles
(typically African, European, and perhaps Mayan) and Garifuna (a combination of
American Indians and Africans) often times also identify in these manners as well.