You can shop, cook and wrap like crazy and enjoy two days of festivities at the end of December, or come to Belize where the entire month of December is one long holiday. We suggest finding one place to lodge during your visit—a festive destination like Cahal Pech Village Resort where Christmas spirit is reflected in the resort’s décor, enthusiasm and holiday cheer, exemplifying all that is splendid about a tropical yuletide. Your choice. A few days or weeks of celebrating? Here’s what you’ll miss if you stay home.
The weather’s so mild, witness an annual Christmas tree lighting early in the month dressed in lightweight duds and sandals. The big lighting is held at Mule Park in Belize City but it’s not the only one. Snap up Albert Street deals if you still have shopping to do before toasting the season with a refreshing glass of local wine or beer at pubs all decked out for a tropical Christmas.
The Christmas Bram consists of celebrants singing, dancing and playing instruments as revelers snake through neighborhoods. The Christmas Bram harkens back to Belize’s Kriol culture, so part of the nation’s holiday tradition is a style of caroling that’s unique. Sing along if you’re familiar with Brukdong music, or just dance to the energetic beat. If you can’t get to Belize City, Gales Point Manatee stages a Christmas Bram, too.
If you’ve had your fill of women in tutus dancing around giant Nutcrackers, visit Dangriga on Christmas afternoon where Jankunu Dancers wearing pink masks and clothing laden with shells will entertain you. This festive tradition celebrates freedom from slavery, so expect to be mesmerized by joyous performances. If you miss Christmas day, make it a point to attend the post-Christmas Jankunu competition.
Okay–he’s a cute mythical reindeer, but why settle for a cartoon character with a red nose when you can experience the Santa Cruz area’s traditional Maya Deer Dance? This ancient ritual began when Mayans roamed Belize thousands of years ago, so as you witness the 24 dancers depicting this sacred folklore-based dance, you can imagine what Belize performance art was like centuries ago.
Make plans to be in Belize on December 16th when Belize’s version of Las Posadas takes place. This nine-day event is rooted in Spanish culture and filled with food, songs, prayers, music and dance. Immerse yourself in the pageantry by going to Benque Viejo del Carmen in Cayo where this dramatic retelling of the Holy Family’s journey to Bethlehem and their attempt to find lodgings there takes place and repeats for nine more days.
You must remove your wet suit long enough for a celebratory meal and it’s important to bring a big appetite to the table. Expect traditional turkey and all of holiday trimmings, plus ethnic dishes like Belize’s uniquely-flavored rice and beans, tortillas brimming with chicken, pork, olives and cheese, chicken tamales and potent rum cake. Dine at Cahal Pech on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because once is not enough. Staff will help get you to Midnight Mass if this is an important part of your holiday, too!