The September Celebrations is less than a month away and Belizeans can look forward to a packed calendar of events that has already kicked off with last Saturday’s National Song Competition Final.
According to Communications Officer for NICH Shari Williams, it is a mix of old and new, with star power and serious issues on tap.
Among new events on the calendar are special performances by the visiting Calypso Rose and Machel Montano, as well as a lecture on Belize’s economic development scheduled for September 17.
Official ceremonies to open September Celebrations will take place on St. George’s Caye on August 31; the Expo Belize fair takes place in the first weekend of September, Carnival in the second; and official ceremonies for St. George’s Caye Day and Independence Day take place on Wednesday, September 10 in Belize City and Sunday, September 21 in Belmopan.
This year’s theme for the 216th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye and 33rd anniversary of national independence is “Industrious Hands, Intelligent Minds, Together for Belize.”
Belize’s Independence Day is one of the most important cultural events in the country. While the actual day is on September 21, the event includes festivities throughout the country for almost two weeks leading up to the national holiday.
In early Belize history, the country was under Spanish rule, but Spain did not actually control the area due to a belief that it did not have sufficient resources to gain the country’s full attention. Spain allowed British settlers into the area, and the British eventually gained a large presence. 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 until it was granted self-government in 1964, and it was renamed Belize from British Honduras in 1973. Belize finally attained independence on 21 of September 1981.
The Expo 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 local food.
Battle of St. George’s Caye Day Festivities
While Belizean Independence Day is on September 21, the Battle of St. George’s Caye Day is on September 10 and typically marks the beginning of celebrations. On that day, radio stations begin to play patriotic music and people wear the country’s colors. Crowds gather at the town square, people have family picnics, and there are public dances.
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.
Live Musical Concerts
In addition, there are live musical concerts planned throughout the country each year. These may be smaller events that are held in villages as well as grand celebrations that bring together hundreds or even thousands of people. These events often are a celebration of the culture of the country, but they also display the citizen’s deep level of patriotism.
While the national events are designed for those of all ages, there are some events that are planned each year especially for the kids. One of the more popular events is the talent show competition. While some of the children who participate in the events have talents that are not related to the country or patriotism, others may sing patriotic tunes or play musical instruments. These are fun events for the participants as well as for the audience.
Similar to celebrations held in many Caribbean and Latin American countries, Belize’s Carnival draws hundreds of performers and spectators to the streets of Belize City. Thousand 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.
Over a thousand party-goers engage in the annual paint and chocolate festival through the streets of Belize City. This event is done on the early morning on Carnival Day.
The September Celebrations Calendar of Events 2014
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