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Celebrating 37 Years of Independence in Belize

Posted by: Las Terrazas Resort
05 Apr
Celebrating 37 Years of Independence in Belize
This month marks the 37th anniversary of Belize independence, and what better way to celebrate than to think upon this nation's history and look ahead to the country's upcoming festivities?
Formerly known as British Honduras, one might not be aware that the country was originally under Spanish rule. However, due to a lack of funding and resources, Spain was unable to adequately control the area and therefore allowed British settlers into the country, eventually leading to a strong British presence. In 1798, the week-long Battle of St. George's Caye ensued between Spain and Britain, resulting in a British victory affirming their control over this piece of the Caribbean. British Honduras remained under British control until 1964, when they were granted their own self-government, and the country was re-named Belize in 1973. Stalled by a Guatemalan claim to sovereignty over Belizean territory, it was not until eight years later in 1981 that Belize was granted independence from Britain.
Considering that Belize is still such a young country, patriotism runs high. Basically, this means that the country shuts down for most of September to proudly remember, honor, and celebrate the wonder that is Belize. This year, on September 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, Bowen and Bowen, the makers of Belikin Beer will kick start the holiday with their annual Belikin Beer Bash. (And anyone who has visited Belize will be familiar with the ubiquitous Belikin Beer!) With tons of food, live music, and beer at hand, the country will only be in the very beginning stages of their month-long celebrations. Also decided at the onset of September is Miss Queen of the Bay. Similar to the Miss America Pageant, Belizean beauties are honored coinciding with the celebrations of the country's independence. And this is just the beginning…
Though Belize's national Independence Day is officially observed on September 21, the Battle of St. George's Caye on September 10th is the start of the nation's true festivities, allowing the country nearly two full weeks to celebrate. On this day in particular, radio stations play patriotic music and people can be seen wearing the colors of the Belizean flag - red, white, and blue. Parades and festivals abound and are elaborately constructed with floats, bands, and marchers wearing cultural attire. People gather in the town square, have family picnics, and participate in public dances.
From this date on, the two-week celebration continues. One can find live music concerts in small and large towns alike, some attracting up to thousands in attendance. These concerts are typically a celebration of Belizean culture and are an opportunity to display the nation's pride and patriotism. Wanting to include even the youngest Belizeans, talent shows and National Song competitions are also held during this time and are a fun way to include every member of every family.
Not for the faint of heart, Belize City hosts a huge Carnival each year. Pre-Carnival festivities begin at daybreak, with an event called J'ouvert, where participants are covered from head to foot with chocolate, mud, paint, or powder as they parade through the streets. From there, Carnival Day is in full force as locals dress up in elaborate, culturally rich costumes and heartily dance the day away.
Last but not least is the Expo Belize Market Place. This event is by far the largest, attracting more than 17,000 visitors in 2017. Full of live music, dancing, games, and a plethora of shopping and snacking to be had from local vendors, this event is a surefire way to celebrate Belize's birthday. Simply put, September in Belize is something you won't want to miss.
Though the country is still young and inevitably experiencing some growing pains as any young nation would, what stands out above all is the pride and joy they have in their history and independence. We look forward to sharing our history and the spirit of Belize with you when you visit us in Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret!
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