Holy Week and Easter

Passion of Christ Reenactment - Easter in Belize
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For Christians around the world, Holy Week and Easter are a time to reflect on and celebrate the story of Jesus’ betrayal, death, and resurrection. In Belize, a primarily Roman Catholic country, this religious holiday is observed through a weeklong series of community activities.

So whether you’re seeking to honour your Christian roots or simply want in on Belize’s celebration of Holy Week and Easter, you’re welcome to participate in the masses and processions.

Holy Week: Sun, Mar 24, 2024 – Sat, Mar 30, 2024

Holy Week is the last week of Lent, between Lazarus Saturday and immediately before Easter.

Starting with Palm Sunday, the Catholic faithful across the land re-enact Christ’s humble entry into Jerusalem. According to the Bible, Christ was greeted by crowds of faithful who lay their cloaks and laid palm leaves in his path, proclaiming him the Son of David. As a result, palm fronds are used during a special procession and re-enactment of Christ’s journey. Various homes decorate their balconies or front porches with purple cloth and palm fronds, signalling a stop for prayers of blessings during the procession.

Holy Monday features a silent Procession (Procesion del Silencio) and Holy Tuesday observes a Procession de Encuentro (the Encounter). Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, is the day reserved for Christ’s Last Supper, during which he established the Eucharist.

Good Friday is the highlight of Holy Week. Across Belize it is considered the strictest and holiest of days. Faithful Christians mourn this day, known to them as the day of Christ’s trials, tribulations, and ultimate crucifixion.

Holy Week ends on Holy Saturday, with a late-night Mass that reflects the long vigil Christ’s faithful held as they awaited His resurrection. During this time, special meat-free foods can be enjoyed, including ko’oxan, tamalitos de Chaya, empanadas and more.

Easter: Sun, Mar 31, 2024

Easter Sunday, also called just Easter or Resurrection Sunday, is the day Christ’s open tomb was discovered, leading the faithful to believe he had been resurrected, and as such, is a joyous celebration of re-birth and renewal. Traditionally, after an early morning mass, families convene for a large meal in celebration, followed by a variety of outdoor activities.

The same is done for Easter Monday, minus the mass. In fact, if the weather is ideal for sun and sea, and since Good Friday through Easter Monday is officially a 4-day holiday weekend in Belize, everyone is outdoors in a celebratory mood. Waterways tend to be the gathering place for Belizeans to enjoy these four days off, from rivers, streams to the beach, families spread out and celebrate.

Where to go in Belize for Holy Week & Easter celebrations

The top Belize destination to visit during Holy Week is perhaps Benque Viejo del Carmen in the Cayo District – their processions and observation remain the most elaborate in the country. On Good Friday for example, the town features the largest Live Passion Play, with local actors dramatizing Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. Streets are lined with intricate sawdust tapestries, and actors carry a heavy cross during a painful procession known as the Way of the Cross.

San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye is not far behind, with its large Roman Catholic base hosting welcoming masses and inclusive processions. And other municipalities across Belize also host their own processions and observations, smaller but equally meaningful.

There are also non-religious special events during the Easter season. Towns and villages across Belize host beach parties, town fairs and village brams, where there is no shortage of great music, entertainment, and revelry.

Belize’s largest cycling event occurs on Holy Saturday. The iconic Holy Saturday Cycling Classic, which runs from Belize City to San Ignacio and back, draws crowds to the streetside throughout the entire race.

And on Easter Monday, everyone heads to the horse racetracks. The largest horse race happens near Belize City in Burrel Boom Village, with San Ignacio and Santa Elena’s horse race event coming in second.



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