Happy Sovereign's Day BELIZE from Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council. May you all have a blessed day!
We take this opportunity that inform the general public that our offices will be closed on Monday, May 25th, 2020, in lieu of Sovereign's Day. We shall resume to our temporary working hours on Tuesday, May 26th, from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon.
Originally known as Empire Day, this holiday marked Queen Victoria's birthday.
Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day is a public and bank holiday in Belize on May 24th. If May 24th falls on a Sunday, a public holiday will be observed on the following Monday.
This holiday celebrates two aspects that highlight Belize's colonial history - the birthday of Queen Victoria and the Commonwealth of Nations.
History of Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day
After Queen Victoria died in 1901, a public holiday was declared across the British Empire on May 24th. This is the birth anniversary of the great sovereign who ruled the British Empire for 63 years.
In the late 1950s, as the British Empire was shrinking, the British prime minister Harold MacMillan announced that Empire Day would be changed to Commonwealth Day. In 1976, the date of the holiday was switched to the Second Monday in March.
Of the 54 members of the Commonwealth, Belize is the only country who still observe May 24th as the date for Commonwealth Day. Canada still observes a holiday for Victoria's birthday on the Monday on or after May 25th.
- Queen Victoria became queen at age 18 and held one of the longest reigns in British history.
- Her reign became known as the Victorian Era and was marked by significant economic and industrial development in Britain.
- Empire Day was officially recognized in 1916. The day was especially celebrated by schools across the British Empire; children would salute the British flag and sing patriotic songs.
- As countries that formed the British Empire began to celebrate their own identity, Empire Day was changed.
- Today, 54 countries form the Commonwealth including countries that were former British colonies and a few that have voluntarily joined the association.