Festivals and Events
With an intriguing history that combines British rule and Maya traditions, Belize has a fascinating cultural landscape that shines through in its myriad festivals. From ancient rituals to historical events to lobster, the people of Belize can always find a reason to celebrate – and celebrate in style none the less. Festivals in Belize and noisy, colourful and exciting so be sure not to miss out.
Baron Bliss Day
Commemorating Baron Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss
, one of Belize’s largest financial benefactors, this festival involves sailboat and horse racing, kiting competitions and plenty of opportunities to make merry on the beach or in the city. The money that was donated to Belize has played an integral role in the development of the country and has been used to establish a nursing school, cultural centre and more.
Caye Caulker Lobster Fest
A delicacy in the western world, but often out of our price range for regular consumption, lobsters in Belize get their own festivals, the most vibrant of which takes place on the paradise island of Caye Caulker. On the first day of the festival, Miss Lobster Fest is crowned and the festivities carry on through to Sunday. Dancing events, lobster weigh-in competitions and impressive ceremonies are just some of what’s on offer and, of course, there will be lobster ready to eat in every form imaginable.
Benque Viejo del Carmen Fiesta
Situated along the Belize/Guatemala border, this festival celebrates the town’s patron saint Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Nuestra Señora de Monte Carmelo). The event always sees a large turnout and this might have something to do with the rumour that the women in Benque Viejo del Carmen are especially beautiful, making the pageant particularly popular. The rest of the festival is made up of rides, games, food, fireworks and an array of cultural performances.
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Deer Dance Festival
Unique to Belize, this festival takes place in San Antonio, a Maya village in the South. The main event of this celebration is a ritual dance that symbolises the hunting of deer, performed by locals in masks and brightly coloured costumes. Another significant feature of the festival takes place afterwards when the valiant attempt to climb a greased pole in order to claim a prize that sits at the top.
St. George’s Caye Day
On this day back in 1798 a group of British settlers and liberated slaves defeated the Spanish navy on St. George’s Caye, thus ending their attempts to dislodge the British and conquer Belize. This victory is celebrated every year with a re-enactment of the battle on the site where it originally took place. Other festivities include a regatta, BBQs, music, games and the crowning of Miss San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.
On September 21st 1981, Belize gained independence from the British and it remains to this day a cause from celebrations across the country, the most impressive of which take place in Belize City. Marches and parades flow through the streets in an explosion of noise and colour and street food vendors set up shop along the side of the road, filling merry-makers with delicious local snacks.