Thursday, December 20, 2012

Belizean National Holidays 2013

Many are new celebrations to US expats, so I've added a brief description of the "why" for each holiday.

Words to the wise: "Be prepared"

Make sure you have enough food and beverage to last. Shop before noon the day before the holiday to make sure you have a good selection and variety of choice. I guess it's like shopping under a winter storm or hurricane advisory here in the states--at the last minute everyone needs bread, milk and toilet paper!!!

Holidays can be subject to arbitrary last minute changes by local authorities!

January 2013

      1 - New Year's Day
           Not many traditional festivities on this day. The annual Krem New Year's Cycling 
           Classic, cycling race from Corozal Town to Belize City - close to a 90 mile ride.
  • This national holiday welcomes the new year, takes place annually on January 1.
    March 2013

         9 - National Heroes and Benefactors Day, formerly Baron Bliss Day
              The culmination of a multi-day 3-person canoe race from San Ignacio to Belize City - 
              La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge from March 6-9. Foot races, horse races across 
              the country and a regatta by the Bliss Lighthouse in Belize City.
    • A national holiday celebrating Belize's benefactors, takes place annually March 9.  The Englishman, Baron Henry Edward Ernest Victor (Barreto) Bliss, at the time of his death, March 9, 1926, willed some $2 million US dollars in a trust fund to the country of British Honduras for the benefit of her citizens.
        29 - Good Friday
               Many Christians attend special church services. San Pedro holds an actor portrayed  
               ceremony through town, reenacting Jesus' procession to the cross.
    • A national holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus, takes place annually the Friday before Easter.
         30 - Holy Saturday
                Celebrations across the country including: Easter Fair in San Ignacio-music, games 
                and activities. Day of the Holy Saturday Bicycling Classic - round trip from Belize 
                City to  San Ignacio - close to a 140 mile race.
    • A national holiday for Easter celebrations, takes place annually the Saturday before Easter.
    April 2013

         1 - Easter Sunday
               Traditionally church services in the morning and feasts in the evening. The Easter 
               Bunny and hiding eggs are increasingly common. Parties, festivals and gatherings at 
    • A national holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.
         2 - Easter Monday
               A low-key, relaxing day. Few festivities, horse and bicycle races.
    • A national holiday, takes place the Monday after Easter. 
    May 2013

         1 - Labour Day
              Sporting events and parties follow the annual address given by either the Prime 
              Minister or the Minister of Labour. Kite contests, cycle races, harbour regatta, and
              horse races too.    
    • A national holiday, held annually on May 1.
        24 - Commonwealth Day
               Celebrated by horse races in Orange Walk and Belize City; while Cayo and Belmopan
               host bicycle races. The 3-day Toledo Cacao Festival is held over the Commonwealth
               Day Holiday weekend.   
    • A national holiday celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's birthday, held annually on May 24.
    September 2013

         10 - St. George's Caye Day
                This day kicks off celebrations up to Independence Day. Parades and dancing 
                highlight this holiday, most major festivities can be found in Belize City.
    • A national holiday in celebration of the British victory over the Spaniards at the Battle of St. George's Caye in 1798, held annually September 10.
         21 - Independence Day
                Fireworks, music, parades and festivities throughout the country. Some areas begin 
                the fireworks at midnight on the 21st!
    • A national holiday in celebration of Belize's independence from Britain in 1981, held annually September 21.
    October 2013

         12 - Columbus Day, also known as the Day of the Americas or Pan American Day
                Celebrated by fishing tournaments, parades, beauty contests and music. Most
                festivities can be found in Cayo, Orange Walk and Corozal where the Mestizo
                culture is predominant.
    • A national holiday celebrating Mestizo culture, takes place annually on October 12.
    November 2013

         19 - Garifuna Settlement Day
                Celebrated by parades and presentations of Garifuna culture and music, especially in  
    • This national holiday celebrates the arrival of the Garifuna people to Belize in 1832, takes place annually on November 19.
    December 2013

         25 - Christmas Day
                Celebrated traditionally, by gift giving, tree decorating and family feasts. Uniquely                    
                Belizian is the introduction of Deer Dance, cultural foods and music.
    • This national holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus, takes place annually on December 25.
         26 - Boxing Day
                Celebrated in Belize with parties, concerts, horse racing and door-to-door neighbor 
    • Also known as St. Stephen's Day, this national holiday has it's roots in long-ago Britain with a tradition of giving gifts to the less fortunate, often coins in a box as a Yultide "tip"--gifts to equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day. Takes place annually on December 26.
    Thanks to:;;



    1. There is a very well-attended Sailing Regatta in Sarteneja each Easter.

      1. Thanks! I'll make sure to blog about it before Easter!