In 2021, Belizeans will celebrate two new public and bank holidays: George Price Day on January 15th and Freedom Day on August 1st. For unknown reasons, Pan American Day (also known as Columbus Day) observed on October 12th, has been removed.
The new holidays begin with George Price Day on January 15th, which is the birthday of the Father of Belize’s Independence. The Late Rt. Hon. Price co-founded the People’s United Party (currently in power) in 1950 and led it for four decades. Price was devoted to the political and economic independence of the then-British Colony known as British Honduras.
The second new public and bank holiday is Freedom Day, and will be observed on Monday, August 2nd, in lieu of August 1st. The story behind this new addition marks the Emancipation Day for the Caribbean. This day is observed by the Anglophone Caribbean nations and refers to the 1834 abolition of slavery in the British Empire, and the 1883 abolition of apprenticeship, a system which forced former slaves to continue working uncompensated for their former masters.
No reason was given for the removal of Pan American Day, celebrated on October 12th. The former holiday was to mark the alleged 1492 arrival of the first Europeans to the American continent, led by Christopher Columbus.