The Longest Holiday of the Year
While some enjoy spring break, in Belize we celebrate Easter. With a large portion of the population belonging to a Christian denomination, holy week is the longest holiday of the year. The 4-day weekend for many begins at end of day on Thursday and ends on Monday.
Locals take advantage of the much-needed rest days. What seems like the entire population travels to neighboring Cancun and Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. Or, they might head to the cayes, rivers and other bathing locations. Swimming is such a quintessential Easter time activity that there’s even a time-specific Belizean myth that one mustn’t swim on Good Friday. If you do, you might be turned into a mermaid. Needless to say, many take the risk and recharge their batteries in the healing waters of Belize.
Other Easter Traditions
There are also those that keep to tradition and celebrate the holiday with religious ritual. In Benque Viejo del Carmen, a bordering town with Guatemala, processions take place to commemorate the passion of Christ. On Good Friday the townspeople and church members parade down intricately designed sawdust carpet streets reenacting the stations of the cross. Later in the evening, “El Santo Entierro”, meaning the holy burial procession begins. The reenactments end at midnight on Holy Saturday with the resurrection procession and mass. A beautiful spectacle of culture and faith, it is an Easter experience that everyone should experience at least once.
Another longstanding tradition is that of the Holy Saturday Cross Country race. The 180-mile road bike race brings out cycling aficionados to watch cyclists ride from Belize City to San Ignacio and back. You also don’t want to miss out on the delectable Hot Cross Buns made especially for this time of year!
In contrast to the solemnity of the holiday, coastal towns like San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Placencia are alive with beach parties and other festivities. Well-known local DJ’s and artists perform for party-goers through the weekend.
Whether enjoyed traditionally or frivolously, Easter weekend is taken very seriously in Belize.
Similar Reading: Belize Public & Bank Holidays 2023
Featured Photo by Duarte Dellarole
Editor's Note: This post was first shared on March 28, 2018. It was updated on March 20, 2022.