Belize : Events & Festivities



February / March / May / June / August
September / October / November / December

February

Fiesta de Carnaval
Exciting yearly event celebrated nationwide which brings back traditions. Groups compete in comparsas (special dances). Held one week before Lent.

San Pedro Carnival
Ambergris Caye. Slowly evolving from slapstick fun using powder, flour, lipstick and paint to tease people, to a more traditional Mestizo carnival made up of competing comparsas.

March

Baron Bliss Day - 9th March
Celebrations held nationwide to honor this great benefactor of Belize. Harbor regatta is held in front of the lighthouse where he was buried. Horse and cycle races are also held.

May

Labour Day - 1st May
Address by the Minister of Labour or a representative, followed by parades and rallies held throughout the country. Kite contest, cycle race, harbor regatta, horse race.

Commonwealth Day - 24th May
Celebrated nationwide as the Queen's birthday. National Sports Council holds horse races in Belize City at the National Stadium and in Orange Walk Town at the People's Stadium. Cycle races are held between Cayo and Belmopan.

June

Dia de San Pedro
Three-day festival honoring St. Peter, the patron saint of San Pedro. Early morning boat parade. Boats and fishermen are blessed, a special mass is held and and a fiesta/jump-up follows.

August

Deer Dance Festival
San Antonio, Toledo District Week-long celebrations. Historical re-enactments, costumes, homemade harps and violins.

International Sea & Air Festival
San Pedro. A festival of music, dance, and foods from Belize, Mexico and neighboring countries.

September

St. George's Caye Day - 10th Sept
Celebrates and commemorates a battle in 1798 when the Spanish were defeated by slaves, Baymen and British soldiers. Around the country similar official ceremonies and parades take place. Carnivals, sporting activities, fire engine parade, and pop concerts held several days prior to this event.

Independence Day - 21st Sept
Numerous cultural, religious and sporting activities. Flag-raising ceremonies, parades, street jump-ups, music, dance and foods. Crowning of Miss San Pedro.

October

Columbus Day (Pan American Day) - 12th October
Regatta racing in Belize City. In Orange Walk and Corozal there are Fiestas and a beauty contest to celebrate Mestizo culture. Horse and cycle races. Tourism Week: Activities include silent and Dutch auction, grand vacation raffle drawing and fair.

Hike & Bike for the Rain Forest
A two-day cross-country run and mountain bike race. Local and International athletes will compete throughout the Cayo area for the benefit of the rain forest.

November

Garifuna Carnival / Settlement Day
Festival, mainly in the southern-most areas of the country to mark the first arrival of the Garifuna in 1832 in Dangriga. Celebrations begin on the evening of the 18th when the Garifuna drumming and Punta dancing go on all night! Next morning is is a bright and early start to the day (for those who went to bed!) as everyone heads for the river to watch the Re-enactment of the Landings of the Garifuna people. Afternoon more processions as all the local schools and different communities march through town with their colourful floats.

A brief history: The busy port of Stann Creek changed its name to Dangriga in honour of the proud Garifuna people who make up the majority of the 10,000 residents. Garifuna history began more than 300 years ago when two ships filled with African slaves were wrecked on the Caribbean's Windward Island of St. Vincent. The next century saw their intermarriage with the Carib Indians, creating the Garifuna. Their mixed blood children developed fishing, hunting and farming skills but were staunchly independent and resisted colonization by both the Spanish and British for several decades. In 1795, the Garifuna chief was killed by an English soldier's bullet and his conquered people were rounded up and shipped off to the inhospitable Bay Islands off Honduras. On November 19th 1823, a large group of Garifuna from the Bay Islands joined about 200 others who had settled at the mouth of Stann Creek some 20 years earlier. They had left Roatan in dugout canoes with a few meager necessities to start a new life in a new land. The date of this mass landing is celebrated each year on November 19th as Garifuna Settlement Day.

December

Boxing Day
Parties, dances, horse races and some Garifuna dances are performed.

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