The following are Official Holiday Dates in Belize:
* New Years Day – January 1
* Baron Bliss Day- March 9
* Good Friday
* Holy Saturday
* Easter Monday
* Labour Day-May 1
* Commonwealth Day- May 24
* St. George’s Caye Day- September 10
* Independence Day- September 21
* Columbus Day- October 12
* Garifuna Settlement Day- November 19
* Christmas Day- December 25
* Boxing Day- December 26
As the above list shows, Belize enjoys lots of official holidays – the Easter Holidays are the longest – from Good Friday and up to and including Easter Monday – a four day long official public and bank weekend few fun loving countries can equal.
The second longest official holiday is Christmas and Boxing Day combined a two day official holiday. Boxing Day is observed on December 26.
The recorded celebration of Boxing Day has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions. The European tradition has been dated to the Middle Ages, and there are claims that it goes back to the late Roman or early Christian era; metal boxes placed outside of churches were used to collect special offerings.
Belize Holidays By Month and Significance
Fiesta de Carnaval is an exciting yearly event celebrated in the northern districts of Corozal and Orange Walk and at Ambergris and Caye Caulker Cayes which have majority Latino populations. Participants compete in comparsas – special dances that parody local individuals, officials or historical events. The highlight of this event is the last day when good-natured but purposeful groups of celebrants roam the streets and paint anyone they can find with food coloring at best, or shoe polish at worse. Carnaval is celebrated one week before Lent.
International Billfish Tournament: Prize of $50,000 to angler landing blue marlin over 500 pounds. Sponsored by the Belize Game Fish Association.
Annual Agricultural & Trade Show held at the City Of Belmopan. This is the largest public event in Belize – easily drawing 30,000+ visitors to view livestock and trade exhibitions, rodeos, mechanical rides, dance and music festivals, manufacturer exhibits and blowout sales by merchants.
Baron Bliss Day Celebrations are held nationwide to honor this great benefactor of Belize. Harbor regatta is held in front of the Belize City lighthouse site of the Baron Bliss Memorial. Horse and cycle races are also held in various areas of Belize.
Easter Good Friday in is observed in all major population centers. Church services are in the morning followed by processions at around 3p.m. The processions are a solemn event carrying the cross and other sacred icons through the streets of the town.
Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic race starts in Belize City, continues on to Western Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, lopes around and returns to Belize City. The race is open to all cyclists world wide and is coordinated by the Belize Cycling Association.
The San Jose Succotz Fiesta celebrating the day of their patron saint is held in this month. This village fair features entertainment for kids, rides, food, marimba music and dances featuring big bands from Belize, Mexico and Guatemala.
Cashew Festival Crooked Tree Village. Celebrates the cashew harvest season. Live punta and brukdown music, cashew wine, Caribbean-style dishes, games, sports and folklore presentations.
Cayo Expo San Ignacio. Displays of local crafts and products, archaeological exhibits, dance and local foods.
Coconut Festival Caye Caulker. Food, beverages, boat races. Parade with prize for floats, coconut competition, dancing.
Commonwealth Day Celebrated nationwide as the Queen’s birthday. The National Sports Council holds cycle, iron man and horse races in Belize City at the National Stadium and in Orange Walk Town at the People’s Stadium.
Dia de San Pedro Ambergris Caye. Three-day festival honoring San Pedro (St. Peter), the patron saint of San Pedro. Early morning boat parade. Boats and fishermen are blessed, a special mass is held and and a fiesta jump-up follows in the evening.
Benque Viejo del Carmen Fiesta Fair. Celebrates the day of their patron saint with cultural shows, marimba bands, food and games, mechanical rides, cultural presentations, sports marathons and dances with bands from Belize, Guatemala and Mexico.
Hopkins Mango Festival: Stann Creek villagers set up stalls on the beach where visitors can enjoy mango as the main ingredient in appetizers, entrees and desserts.
Deer Dance Festival San Antonio, Toledo District: Week-long celebrations. Historical reenactments, costumes, homemade harps and violins. This traditional Maya cultural event features costumed dancers (a jaguar, a hunter and, of course, deer). The dance continues today as a part of cultural preservation efforts for Toledo
Costa Maya Festival San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. A festival of music, dance, and foods from Belize, Mexico and neighboring countries. Includes parachute teams from various countries competing for prizes.
Tres Pescados Slam Tournament: Takes place in Ambergris Caye that is surrounded by some of the best saltwater fishing flats in the world. The stated objective for hosting this tournament is to gather data on the local stocks of Tarpon, Permit and Bonefish.
Independence Day Numerous cultural, religious and sporting activities held a couple of weeks before St. George’s Caye Day. Flag-raising ceremonies, parades, street jump-ups, music, dance and foods. Crowning of Miss Belize.
Mexican National Day Orange Walk and Corozal residents cross over into Mexico to reunite with families and have celebrations.
St. George’s Caye Day Celebrates and commemorates a military skirmish in 1798 when the Spanish fought British soldiers. Around the country similar official ceremonies and parades take place. Carnivals, sporting activities, fire engine parade, and pop concerts held several days prior to this event. Belikin Spectacular Billfish tournament with spectacular prizes. Sponsored by the Belize Game Fish Association.
Columbus Day (Pan American Day) Regatta racing in Belize City, beauty queen contests, dances and parades in the northern Corozal and Orange Walk Districts.
Hike and Bike for the Rain Forest A two-day cross-country run and mountain bike race. Local and International athletes compete in El Cayo area to raise funds for rain forest conservation.
Garifuna Settlement Day, mainly in the southern most areas of the country to mark the first arrival of the Garifuna in 1832 in Dangriga. Celebrations begin the night before the official day with drumming throughout communities where the Garifuna are present. The centre of the celebrations are in Dangriga where most residents start to celebrate on the 18th and go right through to the 19 without a break for sleep.
Christmas Day sees most business places closed – except for nightclubs, churches and dance halls. Families visit each other, play music on the streets, exchange gifts and party like only Belizeans known how. Boxing Day Parties, dances , horse races and some Garifuna dances are performed.
John Canoe Festival, also know by locals as the Habinahan Wanaragua Jankunu Festival is held in Dangriga a day or two after Christmas Day at Why Not Island in Dangriga.