Dia de San Pedro Celebration
The Dia de San Pedro activities ended on Sunday June 30th, with a beach family day at the Central Park beach. The 10 days of events were held under the theme “Learning from the past, appreciating our traditions and progressing into the future – a celebration of our Patron Saint Peter.” Throughout the course of the celebration, the theme brought to light the history, culture and traditions of the island, one that has been neglected as the demographics of the island has changed.
The highlight of the week long celebration was the Friday June 28th opening ceremony: La Alborada, the eve of the Dia de San Pedro. It was filled with music and cultural dances and included the participation of the Ambergris Caye Elementary School, Alma Beliceña from Soccotz, Sarteneja Dance Group and Ballet Folklorico de Chetumal Quintana Roo. In his welcome remarks during the official ceremony, Mayor of San Pedro Town Daniel Guerrero explained the importance of highlighting the historical background of the island. He said that he was happy that celebration took into account the true motives of the traditions of the island – one that has been “lost with the time.”
Meanwhile Diane Haylock, President of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), in her opening remarks, spoke of the richness of the traditions. “San Pedro Town has a rich and colorful history. The organizers must be commended for incorporating all the elements of this particular celebration. San Pedro Town and by extension the island, has a very rich culture and celebrations such as these allow us as visitors, to get a glimpse of it,” said Haylock. For his part, the Minister of Tourism and Culture Manuel Heredia explained the while San Pedro Town has moved on from the small little fishing community to become the prime tourism destination in the country, many still have memories of the humble beginnings the island. “We have moved forward to become the country’s prime tourism destination. Overall tourism figures show that more than 50% of the tourists that vacation in Belize come to the island. This shows how we have grown throughout the years but even as we develop, we must do so in a sustainable manner. We cannot afford to lose either our traditional practices such as fishing, nor can we stop development. What we should ensure however is that our culture is kept and preserved,” said Heredia in his keynote address.
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