After all the festivities for Garifuna Settlement Day and Thanksgiving, it’s time to prepare for the Belizean Christmas holiday. During the Christmas season, many families make it their priority to attend church services and sing the beautiful Christmas hymns. The Christian faith is the main religion practiced by many; the Roman Catholicism is the most common religion followed by Belizeans. There are Methodists, Anglicans, Buddhists, and Jehovah Witnesses, just to name a few. But not all of these religions celebrate Christmas or have the same traditions as others.
Many Christian churches practice the lighting of the Advent candles – this involves a Christmas wreath that has 4 candles around it and one in the middle. Each candle and the wreath itself represent the four weeks of Advent and one candle is lit on each Sunday – there are 3 purple candles, 1 pink, and 1 white. The wreath symbolizes continuous life, it has no beginning or end; the first candle is purple and known as the “Prophecy Candle” symbolizing hope; the second is purple and known as the “Bethlehem Candle” symbolizing the journey to Bethlehem; the third is pink and known as the “Shepard’s candle” symbolizing joy; the fourth is purple and known as the “Angel’s candle” symbolizing peace; lastly the white candle is called the “Christ candle” symbolizing the life of Christ and Purity. The Catholic, Methodist, and Anglican churches normally take part in this practice.
The Catholic and Anglican churches also celebrate midnight mass every year – this can either be a little before midnight on Christmas Eve or directly at midnight. While the Methodist churches start their service at 10:30 pm leading into midnight. All the Christian churches normally have church service early Christmas morning for those who wish to attend or didn’t make it to midnight mass.
During advent, the Methodist churches have a very special service known as the “Candlelight service” the Sunday before Christmas day at Wesley Methodist Church. They sing a number of Christmas hymns and light their candles for a beautiful experience. People of various denominations attend this service to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, Seven-day Adventists, and others do not participate in the celebration of Christmas.
Whether or not you are a member of the Christian faith, you can always come to one of these special Christmas services for the experience – they are willing to welcome you with open arms!
Written by Reyann Garcia