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September  Celebrations

September is one of the best times to come to Belize! It’s the tourism off-season, which means cheaper prices and a quieter island and it’s also the occasion to partake in the September celebrations.

The most important date is September 21st, which is Belize’s Independance Day but for almost 2 weeks leading up to that day, there are many festivities throughout the country.

In early Belize history, the country was under Spanish rule but Spain did not actually control the area due to the belief that the country did not have sufficient resources worth exploiting. Spain allowed british settlers into the area and the settlers eventually gained a large presence. After some time, Spain regretted the large British presence and asked them to leave. However, the settlers did not comply and a war was waged. 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, then called British Honduray, until it was granted self-government in 1964 and it was renamed Belize in 1973. Belize finally attained independence on 21st of September, 1981.

Each year during September, Belizeans celebrate their independence in a number of ways. 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.

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 in September too. 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. In Belize City, the Expo at the 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 food.

This year in Caye Caulker, the September celebrations already started with a bike parade organised by the village council and several other festivities will animate the island for the days to come! We can’t wait to get stuck in!

By Doryan Givel - Frontier Belize Project Coordinator

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