If you really want to know what is important to the people of Belize, plan to attend one of their annual events or festivals. Annual events run the gamut from celebrations of important moments in the country's history and celebrations of culture, to sports showcases and music festivals.
No matter the event, there are a few things usually on hand: local foods, hand made arts and crafts, music, and lots of locals who know how to have fun.
- San Pedro Carnival: While the entirety of Belize celebrates Carnival in February, no town celebrates quite like San Pedro. Participants in the festivities attempt to cover each other in outrageously covered make up and paint, then head to lively parade.
- Dia de San Pedro: The town of San Pedro celebrates the birthday of it's founding each June with a week of events. Dance presentations, live music, fireworks displays, festivals, sporting events, and lots of food are all a part of the festivities.
- Deer Dance Day: In August, Belize seems to go back in time as Deer Dance Day takes place. Here, participants perform ritualistic dances that date back to the age of the ancient Mayan culture to celebrate the annual hunt of the deer.
...perform ritualistic dances...
- St. George's Cay Day: St. George's Cay Day in September is the annual celebration of Belize's independence through a parade, various sporting events, and lots of live music.
- Belize Independence Day: Belize Independence Day is celebrated throughout the entire country on September 21 of each year. Events vary by city, from parades and beauty contests, to festivals and music concerts.
- Columbus Day/Pan American Day: Columbus Day/Pan American Day is celebrated throughout Belize each October with various events. Some cities hold beauty pageants, while others hold music festivals or celebrate with a parade through town.
- Garifuna Settlement Day: Each November, the local Garifuna people begin their celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day with a reenactment of their peoples first arrival to Belize in 1832. The day continues on in celebration with great food, music, and dance.
- Township Day: Also in November, San Pedro celebrates the day that the government of Belize recognized San Pedro as a town. The locals organize fishing and boating events, live music, arts and crafts, food, and more to honor their town.
- Battle of the Drums: The Battle of the Drums, held in November, is a drumming competition that pits groups of drummers from Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras against one another as they battle it out for bragging rights, trophies, and cash prizes. Groups display their musical talent by competing in five categories.
- La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge: A four day, 179 mile long canoe race along the Macal and Belize Rivers is held each year in March. The race is called the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, and brings competitors through many local villages celebrating their hard work as they make their way from San Ignacio to Belize City.
- Baron Bliss Day: Baron Bill Day is a national holiday to honor Baron Bliss, a man known for his kind-heart and philanthropy. Most events in his honor are athletic, ranging from canoe races to regattas.
Other Festivals and Events
- Cashew Day: May brings Cashew Day, a food and wine event, to Belize. Guests dine on finely prepared Caribbean dishes and sample local wine made from the fruit of the cashew tree, while listening to live music.
- Chocolate Festival of Belize: Formerly known as the Toledo Cacao Festival, this event celebrates the superior Cacao that the Toledo district is known to produce. The festival takes place over three days in the month of May and includes the opening night event that celebrates chocolate and wine to live music, the Taste of Toledo Street Fair, and the Lubaantun Finale which features Mayan crafts and food stands.
- San Pedro Lobster Fest: Locally caught spiny lobster is the focus of the San Pedro Lobster Fest each June. Booths of the lobster in various states are set up for guests to sample, while calypso and reggae beats play in the background.
If any of these events looks appealing to you, and you plan to attend during your stay in Belize, make sure to check with your hotel concierge. Click here to review hotels in detail. The dates of events and festivals can fluctuate for a number of reasons, and you certainly do not want to miss the fun.