Special Events in Belize – A Caribbean Paradise Awaits You!
Belize is a small nation with a population that has seen significant upheaval every century since the Spanish arrived, and there is always something to celebrate. Belize’s calendar of holidays, celebrations, and festivals is jam-packed with a blend of Mayan, Catholic, and Caribbean cultures.
Despite this cultural variety, a few constant traditions remain: beauty pageants, soccer tournaments, and folk dances are fundamental to many Belizean events. Belizeans are vivacious, energetic people who relish any opportunity to party, drink, and have a good time.
With some of the most festive events in Central America, many visitors plan their trips to Belize so that their vacation time coincides with specific festivals and events. Most people ignore Belize when planning a vacation to Central America, but it is truly a hidden treasure.
Warm smiles from the local, gorgeous deep jungles, spectacular Mayan ruins, and more await you when you arrive. Whether you wish to discover Belize beneath the surface while snorkeling, walk through the rainforest, or enjoy culture and celebrations, it’s an excellent location for all travelers.
There are several celebrations, holidays, and festivals in Belize. The vibrant spirit of the Belizean people is mirrored in the many events held throughout the year, including athletic events, gastronomic festivals, cultural and historical festivities, and much more.
Most of Belize’s public holidays are conventional Commonwealth and Christian holidays; however, others are uniquely Belizean, such as Garifuna Settlement Day and Heroes and Benefactors’ Day, originally Baron Bliss Day. Apart from Independence Day and St. George’s Caye Day, Belizeans celebrate Carnival in September, which usually consists of various festivities spread over several days.
To make things easier, we’ve organized all of the yearly events by month, so you can select when to visit depending on what’s going on or if you’ve already scheduled a trip, you’ll know where to find the exciting stuff.
Baron Bliss Day
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On Baron Bliss Day, one of Belize’s founders is honored with a regatta in the port near the lighthouse where he is buried.
Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, 4th Baron Bliss, known colloquially as Baron Bliss (February 16, 1869 – March 9, 1926), was a British-born traveler. He left over two million Belize dollars to a trust fund to benefit the residents of what was the British Honduras, now Belize.
Shortly after his death, the government designated March 9 as Baron Bliss Day, a national public holiday. Bliss’ fortune was valued at almost £1 million (roughly BZ$1.8 million) at his death. The United Kingdom claimed around $480,000 in inheritance taxes. He explicitly instructed how the money should be utilized to aid British Hondurans.
Apart from minor lifetime annuities to his wife and family in England and his staff, the bulk of the funds was placed in a trust signed by the Governor, the Colonial Secretary, and the Attorney General. The original funds were to be placed in British equities and securities, and only the interest gained may be used.
Even that could only be spent on agricultural and vocational institutions. A sum of one hundred pounds sterling was set up each year for a regatta, which has since been conducted on Baron Bliss Day. The trust has contributed more than $2 million to initiatives such as the Bliss Institute, the Bliss School of Nursing, and other capital projects around the country over the years.
This was eventually renamed National Heroes and Benefactors Day. It is commemorated on the Monday closest to March 9, unless it falls on a Saturday or is relocated by decree. Every March 9, horse races, cycle races, and other fun activities are arranged along Belize City’s waterfront.
Are you planning to visit Belize? This three weeks itinerary might help you!
Fiesta De Carnival
San Pedro is one of the few cities in Belize celebrating Carnival before Lent. Carnaval (also known as Carnival) is commonly held in September in other parts of the world.
The Fiesta de Carnaval is traditionally the most famous festival, lasting three days before Ash Wednesday, but the celebrations can go up to a week. “There is usually music, dancing, costumes, and parades” at this celebration.
Comparsas are huge group meetings that occur throughout the week “of dancers dancing and journeying through the streets, followed by a Carroza (carriage) on which musicians perform. The Comparsa is an evolution of African processions in which adherents follow a certain saint or divinity during a religious celebration.”
The male group comparsa is one of the most prominent Fiesta de Carnaval comparsas, mainly formed of essential men from the community who dress up in outrageous costumes or cross-dress and dance to compete for money and prizes. Body painting and flour fights are two more popular hobbies.
“Painters throng the streets on the last day of Carnival to paint each other. Simply said, this implies that a mixture of water paint and water or raw eggs is used to paint individuals on the streets, with the purpose of painting as many people as possible.” Street battles are expected during the festivities, and some residents use the occasion to seek revenge on their rivals.
Vandalism is prevalent, and “companies must continually prepare by covering or repainting their advertisements throughout the Carnival season due to the harm perpetrated.” The custom remains despite opponents who argue for an end to these celebrations.
Did you know that Belize was represented at The Caribbean Aviation Day in 2022?
Belize Lobster Festival
Belize loves lobsters (and most seafood), and there are several fantastic lobster festivals around the nation during June and July, with kabobs, tacos, fresh-out-of-the-shell lobsters, dancing, and Pina Coladas, and other fresh beverages and munchies.
To burn off the calories, enjoy dozens of various lobster meals, as well as live music, games, and plenty of dancing. The many Lobsterfest festivities are Belize’s clever method of commemorating the start of lobster season. Every year, beginning in mid-June, it is hosted in four regions of the country.
Belize City, the northern cayes, and the southern coast: Caye Caulker, San Pedro, and Placencia. The fun consists of three-day-long weekends (San Pedro’s fest runs a week, which is milking the poor lobster for all it’s worth) with plenty of outdoor food booths serving everyone’s favorite seafood prepared fresh in every way.
From lobster on the grill to lobster thermidor, to lobster ceviche (which is ideal because conch season is closed in June), lobster kebabs, and even lobster chowder. San Pedro Lobsterfest, the latest addition to the Belize Lobsterfest lineup, kicks off the lobster season in mid-June, followed by Placencia Lobsterfest in the south on the final weekend of June.
The last event is the Caye Caulker Lobsterfest in early July, which is a must-attend for any lobster fan. A recent Lobsterfest attendee recalls his experience:
“Lobsterfest isn’t only about eating wonderful morsels of the beloved shellfish (there’s plenty of that), but also about the community coming together to celebrate and share their culture.” There was a terrific environment of fun and amusement, with a massive raffle full of great prizes, entertaining games (beer-drinking, tug-of-war anyone? ), and popular local musicians-DJs playing live music.”
Belize Independence Day
Belize Independence Day, observed on September 21, signifies a significant accomplishment for the Belizean people, who campaigned for many years for independence from Great Britain. It’s also the perfect time to visit this lovely nation.
Belize is a Central American nation located on the eastern shore of the Hondo River. It is bounded to the north by Guatemala and to the northeast by Mexico. Belize’s history extends back thousands of years. Between 1500 B.C. and 300 A.D., the Maya civilization moved into Belize and prospered until around 900 A.D.
When it inexplicably collapsed. Several notable archaeological sites, including Caracol, Xunantunich, Lamanai, and Cerros, illustrate the advanced civilization that existed in the region long before Europeans arrived; these sites are now among Belize’s most popular tourist destinations.
Tensions between the United Kingdom and Spain stem from the United Kingdom’s failure to remove residents from Spanish territory in neighboring Guatemala. On September 21, 1981, Belize declared independence from the United Kingdom. Until 1973, it was known as British Honduras before becoming a self-governing colony.
In 1973, the country’s name was changed to Belize to honor its people’s Maya history. It joined the Commonwealth as an independent member in 1981 before joining the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) in 1990 and the United Nations (U.N.) in 1993.
The month of September in Belize is a celebration of what the Baymen and later political heroes battled for centuries ago: freedom. From the flag-raising ceremony through the carnival road march and the crowning of Miss Queen of the Bay.
For Belize’s Carnival Road March, held in both Belize City in early September and Orange Walk Town on Independence Day itself, nonstop energy in colorful costumes takes to the street to dance in tune with Caribbean sounds.
St. George's Caye Day
Belize commemorates the defeat of the Spaniards in combat with street celebrations and a reenactment of the conflict at the actual location. On September 10, 1798, the little island that served as Belize’s initial colonial capital witnessed a momentous naval victory, leading to Belize becoming the British Empire’s lone foothold in Central America.
St. George’s Caye Day is followed 11 days later by Independence Day, commemorating Belize’s independence from Britain in 1981. The Spanish attempted to govern the territory of the Yucatan coast that encompasses modern-day Belize since the sixteenth century. They could never settle owing to a lack of natural resources and hostile Indian tribes.
The Spanish attempted multiple times to acquire control of the region in the mid-eighteenth century. Despite various treaties negotiated by the Spanish and British designed to protect the rights of the Baymen, the battle continued. The Spanish attacked the village on September 10, 1798, with 32 ships and almost 2,000 soldiers.
They clashed with the Baymen at St. George’s Caye, and despite outnumbering the Spaniards, the Baymen won a decisive victory, ending Spanish interest in the region. Britain formally proclaimed the town a British Crown Colony subject to Jamaica in 1862, naming it British Honduras.
Various celebrations are held to commemorate the occasion, including an official event on the eve of September 10, complete with fireworks and cultural displays. On September 10, there will be a colorful carnival parade with floats reflecting Belize’s national emblems.
This festival also includes the crowning of Miss San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, a children’s bicycle race, a fishing contest, a tug-of-war competition, and enough local cuisine and drinks to keep guests entertained all day.
Also, a public holiday was declared in 1901 across the British Empire on May 24th, on the death of Queen Victoria.
Deer Dance Festival
Maya ceremonial masks are used with clothing to depict religious beliefs and historical events in Maya life during critical events such as weddings.
The monkey dance, Torro dance, moors dance, and devil’s dance are among the dances performed. The Cortez dance and the deer dance are the two most well-known dances. The Deer Dance Festival is hosted at San Antonio, a Maya community in Belize’s southern Toledo District. The formal event includes a ritualized dance that imitates deer hunting. A fascinating sight follows this: locals ascending a greased pole. This is an event which should not be missed out on – to get access to the deer dance festival, you can explore more!
The deer dance, a strong legacy tradition in Mayan tribes, shows the Maya people’s bond with the earth. The Mayan tradition is inextricably linked with the jungles, where tribes have made their living for hundreds of years. This celebration is a meaningful ceremony and a lovely custom that has been passed down through many generations.
The Maya deer dance represents an event from the period of the Spanish invasion. Participants dress up as two Europeans and various animals in masks and costumes. The dance begins when one of the Europeans notices an animal in the forest and inquires of a Maya about it. A Maya guy informs him that it is a deer. The European inquires if they eat deer, to which they respond that they do not since they lack the necessary skills. All of this is accomplished using bodily gestures as the dancers swing back and forth to the upbeat rhythm of the marimba.
The Europeans then make a rifle, which is used to shoot a rabid deer near the river. The rest of the creatures in the forest, including other deer, a monkey, a tiger, and a lion, then transport the hunter out of the woodland so he does not continue hunting and celebrate a successful hunt. In joy, they all dance together.
The Special Events in Belize Cannot be Missed! ...🛪
This list of Belizean rituals to enjoy is significant but not complete, and summer is the best time to experience them all. The season features fewer crowds, warm weather, and superb hotel deals. The dry season, from late November to mid-April, is another excellent time to visit Belize, but it is also the busiest. However, once you’ve soaked in the warm temperatures and beautiful sky, you’ll discover that the long lines are inconvenient.
Belize loves its holidays and celebrates them in typical Belizean fashion, with some interesting regional variations. Belize’s calendar is chock-full of fascinating festivals, contests, athletic events, and other public celebrations. Whether a community celebrates a local event or a national holiday, you can usually depend on tons of excellent food, homemade crafts, and live music.
Perhaps it is in their nature as Caribbean people to hold large celebrations over things they enjoy – or it is in their nature as humans. Whatever the underlying motives are, visiting any of Belize’s festivals is a great experience. While images never seem to match the scents, tastes, sights too fast for your shutter, and memories only your mind can sense, it’s probably a good idea to have a camera with you, and we’d love to see what you captured!