September is hands down my favorite time of year in Belize. The merriest of months, we celebrate important national holidays and unique community events all throughout September. It seems like you can’t throw a stone in this country without hitting a parade or street fair!
Celebrations big and small bring people together and put smiles on everyone’s faces. Traditionally a slow month for tourism, September is a time when many Belizeans living abroad will return to their heritage homes to visit with friends and family and partake in the festivities. Shops, restaurants, and residences are decorated with flags and the national colors of white, red, and blue. Patriotic pride reaches a fever pitch on the 21st, Belize’s Independence Day, when Carnival parades and parties take to the streets of most major towns in a riot of colorful costumes, lively music, and infectious merriment. If you’re seeking fun and festivities in September, look no further than Belize! Here’s just a sample of what to expect next month around the country, week by week.
Start September Celebrations on the 1st with National Flag Day. Flag-raising ceremonies throughout the country commence the month-long celebrations. This September we commemorate 42 years of independence as a country and the theme of this year’s celebrations are: “Hope Ignited, Hands United, Vision Renewed.”
Join the throngs of revelers at Marion Jones Sports Complex in Belize City for the annual Belikin Bash hosted by brewing and bottling giant, Bowen & Bowen. The Bash will be held September 1st and 2nd and will feature a fantastic lineup of local musicians and DJs, great food, and of course, plenty of ice-cold Belikins, the beer of Belize.
Every city, town, and village in the country partakes in the Fire Engine Parade on September 8th. It is unclear when and why this tradition began, but it has become a customary part of September Celebrations in Belize and is a bright and buoyant ritual in which we honor our frontline workers. Belize City will hold their Carnival Road March on Saturday, September 9th, 2023.
The party starts early, at sunrise, with a weird and raucous beginning to the revelry in which participants march down the street slinging paint, mud, and chocolate syrup on one another. It is called J’ouvert and is a joyous and lighthearted tradition that precedes the serious dancing and pageantry of the Carnival Parade. If you’re expecting extravagant costumes and energetic gyration from the Carnival Parade then you will not be disappointed.
September 10th is a national holiday, and we will commemorate the 225th anniversary of The Battle of St. George’s Caye, when the Baymen won a pivotal naval battle over the Spaniards. Expect parades and block parties throughout the country for St. George’s Caye Day as well as local sporting competitions such as cycling races and sailing regattas.
Community events reign in the middle of the month. Small local happenings bring great joy to villages throughout Belize. Children march the streets in grade-level groups during the schools’ uniform parades and many municipalities have mini beauty pageants and talent shows. For happy and wholesome events that will have you feeling like part of the community, try San Ignacio’s Ms. Chiquitita Queen Pageant at the Cayo Welcome Center on the 17th or the concert and food festival in Orange Walk Town at Fort Cairns Market Plaza on the 16th.
Patriotism hits its pinnacle on September 21st for Belize’s Independence Day. Parades, parties, and concerts transpire in communities all over the country. Carnival Road Marches take over the towns of San Pedro, Orange Walk, and Placencia. Feather-, glitter-, rhinestone-, and spandex-clad dancers rejoice under the warm Caribbean sun with boisterous merrymaking and thumping music.
The gaiety is contagious, and onlookers can’t help but rock their hips along to the beat and join in the joy of celebrating the holiday.
See Belize during its proudest month and share in the country-wide celebrations throughout September.