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 had a large presence in the area.
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.
Each year during September, Belizeans celebrate their independence in a number of ways.
Battle of St. George's Caye Day Festivities
While the national Independence Day in Belize is on September 21, the Battle of St. George's Cay Day on September 10 typically marks the beginning of festivities through the end of the Independence Day celebration. During this day's festivities, radio stations begin to play patriotic music, and people wear their country's colors.
Marches and Parades
There are often numerous local parades and marches that take place throughout the country in larger and smaller towns alike. These may feature floats, bands, marchers and others 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 on different days during the almost-two week long festivities.
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 for kids 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 them on musical instruments. These are fun events for the participants as well as for the audience.
The Expo 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.
Independence Day in Belize is one of the most important cultural events in the country. While the actual Independence Day is on September 21, the event includes festivities throughout the country for almost two weeks leading up to the national holiday.