On September 21, 2017, Belize will celebrate 36 years of independence. After centuries as a British colony, Belize became a fully sovereign nation on September 21, 1981, and is today a proud member of the British Commonwealth.
Each year, Belize holds a nationwide contest to choose a theme for the Independence Day celebrations. This year, the winning theme chosen was, “Confronting Challenges! Celebrating Triumphs! Renewing our Resolve!” as a way to both honor the country’s heritage as well as inspire Belizeans towards an even greater future.
September is widely known as “Patriotic Month” in Belize as it is when several key national holidays happen. On September 10, Belizeans celebrate The Battle of St. George’s Caye Day to celebrate a key naval victory by English colonists over a Spanish fleet offshore of the island of St. George’s Caye (islands are called “cayes” in Belize) in 1798. Prior to that date, the British and Spanish had vied for control of the rich logging resources in Belize, but the Battle of St. George’s Caye ensured that Belize would become the only English-speaking colony in Central America.
September is a time when Belizeans from all over the world return home to celebrate the patriotic holidays with friends and family. The streets of every town and village are bedecked in the national colors of red, white, and blue, and each locality holds parades, street dances, musical concerts, and other events. The radio stations play patriotic songs, and there are recitations of patriotic poems and other stirring reminders of the glorious history of Belize.
Falling during the “low season,” September is one of the best times to visit Belize. Travelers can benefit from reduced fares on lodging and organized tours, and there is a lot to see and do all across the country. The weather is almost always cooperative, with trees and flowers blooming seemingly in patriotic support of the historic events that are celebrated all month long. And the September 21 Independence Day festival always culminate in tremendous fireworks shows that simply shouldn’t be missed.
“September really is a great time to visit Belize,” said Larry France, the marketing manager of Chabil Mar. “Everyone is in a great mood due to the patriotic holidays, and it’s really a great time to see parades, street dancing, fairs, and other exciting events.”