Join in on the September Celebrations!

by McNab VS
Photo Courtesy: Jose A. Sanchez

Ask any Belizean, young or old, which month of the year is the one they look forward to the most and hands down the overwhelming response will be September.It is a time of great patriotic celebrations! A month filled with festivities commemorating two important dates in our young country’s history, The Battle of St. George’s Caye and Independence Day.

The Battle of St. George’s Caye is celebrated in Belize as a Public and Bank Holiday every year on the 10th of September. This is to honor the British settlers, buccaneers, and slaves who defeated the Spaniards from occupying the territory of Belize on September 10, 1798. After this defeat, the Spaniards didn’t invade Belize again as they had done several times before between 1716-1779.

Belizeans everywhere are very proud of our forefathers for standing up and defending this small nation and making it the only English-speaking country in Central America.

After the victory at St. George’s Caye, the British held control over the territory until it was granted self-government, and then had its name changed from British Honduras to Belize on June 1, 1973. The road to independence then followed, with Belize achieving its independence from Britain on September 21, 1981.

Now that you have an insight into why Belizeans are so passionate about celebrating the month of September, it is time to get the activities going.

Mark your calendars and join in on a month filled with countrywide parades, music fests, dancing, carnivals, food festivals, and of course one of the biggest expos in the country showcasing Belizean goods and services.

You will receive a warm welcome upon arrival into the country by colorful patriotic decorations with Belizean flags flying high on every lamp post, office building, home, and even cars and bicycles.

CARNIVAL ACTIVITIES

Photo Courtesy: Olivera Ruso

Envision constant music and dancing, stages and streets filled with colorful costumes, and strangers soon becoming dance partners covered in mud, chocolate or paint as they immerse themselves in Soca songs. You must experience the following events first-hand!

Jouvert – September 7th

Get some rest the night before and be sure to set your alarm for this event that starts at 4am. This party involves participants smearing mud, chocolate or paint on their bodies as they dance the morning away through the streets of the old capital. Furthermore, anyone can participate in the fun and there is no fee unless you would like to join an all-inclusive group which provides all the must-haves for this event, including alcohol.

Road March – September 7th

After a couple of hours to recharge your body’s batteries and a quick lunch, it is time to head out to the streets and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of carnival. The King and Queen of Carnival are joined by participants decked out in all their costume ready to dance for about five hours to music exploding from huge speakers on trucks. Also, be prepared to join in the fun. A block party usually follows at the Marion Jones stadium or at one of the parks.

Photo Courtesy: Olivera Ruso
Expo Belize Market Place – September 14th & 15th

Time to get some shopping done for some of the best deals in the country. A range of Belizean products are on display for two days at great prices. People come from all over the country to enjoy food, drinks, music and of course freebies.

OFFICIAL CEREMONIES

The Battle of St. George’s Caye September 10th

The official ceremony takes place around 9 am at the Memorial Park in Belize City which is hosted by the Mayor of the city. The Queen of the Bay is also crowned on this day and makes her debut on a float during the parade which follows immediately after.

Flag Raising Ceremony – September 20th

The night is filled with excitement as fireworks light the Belize City Harbour. Moreover, the night starts with free music concerts and at the stroke of midnight, the Belize flag is raised to a great display of pomp and circumstance.

Independence Day – September 21st

Official ceremonies take place in Belize City as well as in Belmopan and are attended by government leaders, local and foreign dignitaries, and special guests. This is followed by parades which include schools, the military, and floats by various businesses.

Original Article by Vivian Lizarraga

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