History of our Independence
Belize celebrates Independence Day September 21st each year. Today let us commemorate back in 1981 when our nation was granted independence from Great Britain. We gained independence in Belize after several stages of decolonization. We first gained universal adult suffrage in 1954. Afterwards, created a new constitution and internal self-government in 1964. Through these steps our nation moved towards independence.
George Price, a middle-class Roman Catholic intellectual of mixed Creole and mestizo ancestry, helped lay the foundation. He served as First Minister and Premier under British rule in 1964 until independence in 1981. He was the nation’s first prime minister after independence that year.
September is a patriotic month for us. In addition to our Belize Independence Day Celebrations, we celebrate St. George’s Caye Day September 10th. This month is a great time for Belizeans from across the world to return home and celebrate our nation. You can find streets in every small village decorated in our national colors red, white, and blue. Every town holds parades, street dances, musical concerts, and other events to celebrate. Across the country you hear radio stations blasting patriotic songs and recitations of Belizean poems. Be on the lookout for politicians talking about the glorious history and future of Belize.
Independence Day Theme
Every year, Belize holds a nationwide contest to choose a theme for the Belize Independence Day celebrations. This year, the winning theme is “Overcoming Adversity, Creating Opportunity, Belizeans: Unite for Prosperity. The winning theme was submitted by Precious Martinez, a 13-year old student of Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio Town. The 2020 theme goes hand in with all that we are going through during this pandemic. This year Belizeans repeatedly bind together to make ends meet, bringing our families closer together than ever.
San Pedro is a top destination for Belizeans. Our island is known as a party island and our parade is noteworthy. The island hosts the largest carnival parade in the country. You can see local companies with floats going down the street with large boom boxes playing music. children dancing, excited and dressed up to celebrate. Watching the parade, you can see big costumes, bright colors, feathers, and people dancing vibrantly down the middle street. Restaurants and bars host afterparties. After the parade, powder and foam events take place at the park. You can find big fireworks and politicians speaking in the field, only a few minutes walk from the park. Drift Inn staff lead our guests through the festivities and bar hopping to make sure they don’t miss a thing! Interesting in eating or celebrating from one spot – check out these six bars.
This year’s calendar of events is to be less festive and that is due to COVID-19. The September Celebrations Committee has had to downsize the celebrations and reduced events. Only a few events are taking place with strict COVID-19 preventative protocols. Other events are taking place virtually, but most Belizean will celebrate amongst close family and friends with a barbeque at home.
We wish all Belizeans a happy, safe September 21st! May next year’s Independence Day be as vibrant as past celebrations.
If you’d like to support the Belizean community during this time, check out our gift card page.