September is a great time to be in Belize. It’s the tourism off-season, which means cheaper prices on accommodations/ tours, and you can also partake in the festive September Celebrations. The most important date is September 21, Belize’s Independence Day, but there are many festivities throughout the country for almost two weeks leading up to the national holiday.
In early Belize history, the country was under Spanish rule, but Spain did not actually control the area due to a belief that it did not have sufficient resources to gain the country’s full attention. Spain allowed British settlers into the area, and the British eventually gained a large presence. During the Battle of St. George’s Caye, the Spanish and British fought for about a week in September 1798, and this essentially led to British rule of the country. The British held control over the area until it was granted self-government in 1964, and it was renamed Belize from British Honduras in 1973. Belize finally attained independence on 21 of September 1981.
Each year during September, Belizeans celebrate their independence in a number of ways. Below are a few examples:
Belikin Beer Bash
Every year, Bowen and Bowen, the makers of Belikin Beer throw a huge party to celebrate the start of the September Celebrations. There are tons of food, music, and of course, beers. This year it will be taking place at the BTL Park in Belize City on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
The Expo Belize Market Place is one of the largest events in the country and is usually attended by over 15,000 people. It is highly popular, and many citizens attend to participate in a wide range of activities that range from dancing and singing to shopping with local vendors and enjoying delicious local food.
Battle of St. George’s Caye Day Festivities
While Belizean Independence Day is on September 21, the Battle of St. George’s Caye Day is on September 10 and typically marks the beginning of celebrations. On that day, radio stations begin to play patriotic music and people wear the country’s colors. Crowds gather at the town square, people have family picnics, and there are public dances.
There are numerous local parades and marches that take place throughout the country in large and small towns alike. These may feature floats, bands, marchers and many people dressed in cultural attire and the country’s colors of red, white and blue. These are vibrant displays of patriotism that are typically held on September 21, but some parades are held on different days during the almost-two week long festivities.
Live Musical Concerts
In addition, there are live musical concerts planned throughout the country each year. These may be smaller events that are held in villages as well as grand celebrations that bring together hundreds or even thousands of people. These events often are a celebration of the culture of the country, but they also display the citizen’s deep level of patriotism.
While the national events are designed for those of all ages, there are some events that are planned each year especially for the kids. One of the more popular events is the talent show competition. While some of the children who participate in the events have talents that are not related to the country or patriotism, others may sing patriotic tunes or play musical instruments. These are fun events for the participants as well as for the audience.
Similar to celebrations held in several Caribbean and Latin American countries, Belize’s Carnival draws hundreds of performers and spectators to the streets of Belize City. Thousands of bystanders watch as performers march and dance to the tunes of popular music in elaborate costumes vying for the title of king and queen of Carnival.
Over a thousand party-goers engage in the annual paint and chocolate festival through the streets of Belize City. This event is done on the early morning on Carnival Day.