A former British Crown Colony since 1862, British Honduras, Belize gained independence from England in 1981 on 21 September. 2016 marks 35 years of independence- Belize truly is a young country. Belize still enjoys close ties to England as part of the Commonwealth and you will find Queen Elizabeth on our currency.
Leading up to Independence Day on September 21st is a lesser-known holiday, but a highly patriotic one to Belizeans nonetheless. The Battle of St. George’s Caye Day on 10th September celebrates the historic turning point in the continuous conflict between the British and the Spanish in 1798. The British Victory out on the reefs over the Spanish navy marked the beginning of Belize’s journey to the independent country that it is today.
Being a small country has its advantages. With a total population sitting right around 362,000 and about the size of the state of New Hampshire, the patriotic celebrations of September take on a personal tone. Each year to gear up for the celebrations, the National Celebrations Commission selects a theme that the public can submit. 2016’s theme is “Sovereign and Strong- Together as One.” Another way to involve the community is in the annual National Song Competition. According to the National Celebrations Commission, “The National Song Competition is an annual song contest that provides opportunities for both aspiring and established songwriters to have their music heard in a professional and respected environment. The competition is designed to nurture the musical talent of musicians and vocalists on all levels and promote excellence in the art of music in Belize.” Winners are chosen in August and you can expect to hear the songs on repeat on local radio stations and at patriotic events.
September in Belize is a great time to visit this jewel by the Caribbean Sea. With temperatures cooling off a bit from the summer heat and periodic rain spells to keep things fresh, the weather couldn’t be nicer. The people of Belize are notoriously some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet and this is only truer while they celebrate their love of country. Between the parades, parties, regattas, and carnival there is definitely no lack of activities to check out. It’s easier than ever to indulge all of your senses in the vibrancy of Belize while you enjoy the patriotic month, right alongside the local people.