Spending the Holidays in Belize

by McNab Editorial Team

In December, the usual year-round 84 degrees can drop to high but cool 70s. The seasonal chill can be felt in the morning air as The Salvation Army bells ring through the streets. Cities and towns bustle with shoppers during the day while children hurry home from school with their candy canes in hand! If there was ever a time to be in Belize, it’s for the Christmas holidays.

The Food

December in Belize is quite a festive time. It is about family and unity. Known as a cultural melting pot, holiday traditions seem to fuse with one another in Belize. This is something clearly evident in holiday food. While Christmas day dinner is usually focused on ham, turkey and rice and beans, you’ll find foods like tamales and Relleno being served alongside traditional English black fruitcake and white fruitcake.

Fruit Cake

“Milk cake” is also a must as many prefer the plain version topped with a thick layer of caramel. (boiled condensed milk or “bail” milk) A favorite of many is also the Tipsy Cake, another English tradition that carried over to Belizean customs. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that in general, the holiday season is about the food! However, for Belizeans, that statement couldn’t be truer. Eggnog, for example, is known as Rumpopo and can be made at home, but is popularly preordered from vendors weeks ahead of time. Serving this delicious commodity at holiday parties and family get-togethers is a tradition.

Belizean Rumpopo

Christmas Festivities

Christmas themed events are happening all over the country. In central Belize, Bowen and Bowen hold their annual Coca Cola Lighting of the tree event. The tree lighting happens downtown Belize City with the musical stylings of a steel pan band or one of Belize’s up and coming artist of the day. In San Pedro, the Holiday Boat Parade is held annually. Boats of all sizes are decorated with Christmas lights and parade along the coast of the island. It is a magical spectacle of dancing colors and lights against the dark backdrop of the Caribbean Sea at night.

Photo Courtesy Leonardo Melendez Photography

Down South, in Hopkins and Seine Beight the Jankunu dance festival is the main event. Men dress in white garments with shells tied to their legs and a pink face mask. The costume means to be a mockery of the old slave owners. The Jankunu dancers perform to traditional drum music are accompanied by an arrangement of vocals by participating women.

Enjoying the holidays in Belize is truly a gift. Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle wish you, our readers a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and adventure-filled year to come, whether you are in Belize or wish you were! Happy Holidays from CC+L!

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