There’s no doubt that Belize’s independence is the biggest celebration of the year, and with September fast approaching, the first news regarding the festivities has been announced. On Thursday, June 16th, after careful deliberation by the National Celebrations Commission, “Sovereign and Strong- Together as one” was selected as the official theme for 2016.
The theme was submitted by Argelia Mendoza Ken, a teacher and counselor at the Belize High School of Agriculture in the Orange Walk District.
In an interview with CTV-3, Ken explained her thoughts behind coming up with the winning theme. “Our country has been facing a lot of difficult times, where our sovereignty and our status as Belizeans has been challenged. However, these challenges have only made us see a different face of Belize, where we have united as Belizeans to defend and protect our patrimony, regardless of race, of culture, of religion. So beside all the bad stuff that has been happening, it has brought out the best in us, and what better time to celebrate our accomplishments than during our patriotic holidays,” said Ken.
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Calendar of Events
Scheduling your September festivities? Here's this year's Calendar of Events for September Celebrations 2016!
Click here for the 26mb (large) PDF of the full schedule, or read below where we have the events for each city listed separately....
The National Celebrations Commission is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Playbill and Calendar of Events, which includes celebrations, commemorations and other programs around the country.
On Wednesday, Aug. 24, the free booklet will be distributed throughout the districts, and is also available at the NICH Administration office in Belize City, as well as the Bliss Center and the Belize Tourism Board. The calendar covers events taking place in August and September, and includes programs sponsored by a wide variety of organizations and businesses.
One major change in the 2016 lineup is that there will be no St. George’s Caye Official Opening Event due to damages related to Hurricane Earl. Instead, there will be an address by Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr., Chair of the National Celebrations Commission. This address will be broadcast nationwide.
Celebration highlights include:
• Queen of the Bay Pageant, Aug. 27 • Carnival King & Queen, Sept. 3 • Mas Camp, Sept 7-8 • Pan Yaad, Sept. 9 • St. George’s Caye Day ceremony, Sept. 10 • Miss Belize Universe Pageant, Sept. 10 • Jouvert, Sept. 17 • Carnival Road March, Sept. 18 • Official flag raising, Sept. 20 • Independence Day ceremony, Sept 21
In addition to the events above, there will be The Belize History Association Annual Lecture (Sept. 7), and The Belize @35 Lecture will be held in late November. These two events are being held under the auspices of the Institute for Social and Cultural Research).
Here is San Pedro's Calendar of Events for this year's September Celebrations! Save your dates and don't miss out on any of them!
(Click image for larger version)
Caye Caulker September Celebration Calendar
Due to Hurricane Earl, the CCVC was forced to cancel a few of the events planned and change dates on other events/activites. We do ask for your kind consideration in this matter. This is the official Caye Caulker September Celebration Calendar. Please feel free to inquire about any event you may be interested in.
Carnival King & Queen Competition, The night in pictures! See you for the Carnival Road March on Saturday, Sept. 17!
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Carnival King and Queen
Carnival King and Queen Returns to Marion Jones Stadium
Carnival 2016 is getting off to an excellent start and it all reads up to the highly anticipated road march on September seventh. The number of bands has increased this year and the costumes are looking more elaborate and glamorous. On Saturday night, the King and Queen competition took place at the Marion Jones Stadium. The bacchanalists strutted on the stage with tempo and rhythm but in the end, experience won the King and Queen Competition. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
It’s been just over a decade since the Carnival King and Queen Competition was held at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City, but on Saturday night, the widely anticipated contest of the giant costumes officially made its way back to its home venue, with a record number of bands participating. The judges took on the very difficult task of evaluating the elaborate and creative costumes both on its presentation and movement on stage.
Karen Vernon, Logistics Coordinator, Belize National Carnival Commission
“The King and Queen Competition is actually in two parts. There’s the prejudging that started at five this evening and the judges were actually on stage with the kings and queens, juniors and seniors; they were able to touch the costumes, ask questions as to their synopsis, check the durability. That was worth eighty points. After they were all finished with junior queens and kings and senior queen and kings, there was a break and then the costume playing competition started where the bands actually came on stage with their music—prerecorded with the dramatics and all that. And that was a value of a hundred and twenty points so a total of two hundred points for everything. And the judges were looking for use of color, blending, durability of the costume, how well they played up to their synopsis in the costume and their theme. You have to bring the costume to life. The costume has to have a certain element of wow to it; when you come on stage, you have to have that impact. And the costume has to have movement; you can’t bring a stiff costume and you be dancing and expect to gain points by that.”
A whopping sixteen bands – that’s a total of thirty-two kings and queens of the bacchanal graced the stage. Six were junior bands: Sunshine Masqueraders with King Hansel and Queen Gretel of Candy Land; Black Pearl’s Queen of Life and King of Sorrow; Jump Street Posse’s Queen Renata and King Fayah Bun and their theme “Burn to Emerge.” There was also Belize: Our Tropical Paradise with Queen Gia, the Goddess of Earth and its King Belicenio – both of Trenchtown Masqueraders. Pickstock Carnival band fielded Queen Amara and King Aron and “A New Day’s Dawn.” And then last but not least, Collet Royal Revelers Protected the Jewel with Queen Polly and King Lionel.
In the end, Jump Street Posse’s Queen Renata and King Fayah Bun grabbed the top spots, with Queen Gia of Trenchtown Masqueraders second and Pickstock’s Queen Amara third. Meanwhile Pickstock’s King Aron took second place and the lionfish, played by King Lionel of Collet Royal Revellers captured third place.
Jump Street’s Band Leader Marina Welcome, excited about the win, spoke of the preparations for the competition.
Marina Welcome, Band Leader, Jump Street Posse
“It was a lot of extremely hard work due to Hurricane Earl…after hurricane earl, we know we had Hattie ina ’61, so we had to bring that back. And the other disaster was the fire bun…remember the fire that we had on Albert Street. So hello, we gotta bring that. Yo have to think back in the days. You don’t have to watch internet to do your costume. Carnival costume to me is an everyday life; you go on the TV, you follow up what is happening every day and you can create your costume.”
While some would say the junior winners could have easily been determined, it was not that straightforward for the seniors. Ten kings and ten queens competed in this category from Evolution Mas Band with their theme Myths and Legends; Sunshine Masqueraders Senior Band’s Birds of Belize; Eternity Mas Band and “Our Belize- Land So Free, So Rich and So Bless. Feisty Butterflies, Ferocious Beats in the Land of Bacchanal was the theme for Fantasy Explosion Mas Band, while defending champs Titans Mas Band depicted Secrets of the Sea. 2015 Carnival Road March Champs, Soca Moca Carnival Band had its king and queen portray the Mystical Rainforest and the Amazing Barrier Reef respectively. Belizean Jewels Love Story of Flora and Karibe in Secrets of the Garden; Belizean United; the Mystical Version Mas Band and a Splash of Carnival Beauty and Mother Nature’s Our Diverse Ancestry—Our Panoramic Culture—One People! And it was a fight for the top three spots—amateurs and veterans in the senior category danced and played their giant costumes despite the fierce wind element and caught the judges’ attention.
Queen La Sirene and King Karkinus won first place for Titans Mas Band. Queen Ara of Sunshine Masqueraders Mas Band won second along with Mother Nature’s King Afrique played by Leroy Green. Third place went to Queen Flora of Belizean Jewels and King Foresio of Soca Moca Carnival Band.
Band Designers David Matus and Roberto Pasos of Titans say that the win motivates them for the upcoming road march.
Roberto Pasos, Designer, Titans Band
“This is months, weeks, maybe even a year of thinking, putting everything together. Thinking of what design, what material to use and all the people that were at our camp working; this is the reward, the victory.”
David Matus, Designer, Titans Band
“We knew that they wouldn’t fail; we knew what was in our camp, we know what we had up for tonight and I guess they brought out their A game and they put it away.”
First place giant costumes won five thousand and four thousand dollars each for senior and junior kings and queens respectively.
Once again, the Ministry of Education, under the directive of Ms. Nelma Jones, organized the Children's Rally which inlcuded presentations by each school to show their patriotism.
On the official part of the program, students of the New Horizon S.D.A. School opened the event with the Belize National Prayer, followed by a flute rendition by the San Pedro High School students.
Mistress of ceremonies, Faith Edgar, invited a student from ACES to offer the welcome address which was followed by guest speaker, also former valedictorian alumni of SPHS, Miss Virginia Vasquez, where she gave a few words of inspiration to the students present. Following Miss Vasquez, was the keynote speaker, Councilor Ruben Gonzalez, who challenged the students to be a better Belizean and to further promote their patriotism and love for their country with their friends, family and visitors.
After Councilor Ruben's remarks, Officer Gabourel presented some awards to some teachers and students for promoting patriotism in their schools.
President of the Children's Advisory Body, CAB, also had a few remarks on the progress UNICEF and the CAB are working together and the success of their projects. Making the closing remarks were students of the Island Academy, where they thanked everyone for assisting and making this yet another successful event.