Belize Independence Day is celebrated on September 21. The day honors the anniversary of the country’s independence from the British Empire and the adoption of a new constitution. Belize, the smallest country in Central America, celebrates big time, as the day is a national holiday observed widely within the territory. Parades are organized throughout prominent public places, and citizens dress up in traditional clothes to honor their ancestors. Join us as we review their history and take a look at the past, celebrating in style in true Belizean fashion.
History of Belize Independence Day
Belize Independence Day celebrates the triumph of the Belizean spirit and the brave people of the country on the anniversary of their fight for freedom. The day is of great significance to Belizeans who rejected foreign governance and valiantly battled toward a democracy.
The Belizean quest for independence began in the early 17th century when the Spanish Empire granted the land to the British under the infamous “Bay Settlement.” Decades later, scores of wandering Europeans established their base in Belize, displacing the natives of the land. For the next two centuries, tensions were high in the country. The aftermath of the Second World War diminished Britain’s standing in the world, resulting in the continued dilapidation of the British Honduras dollar and the state of its colonies. On September 21, 1981, Belize achieved independence from decades of persecution, and the day celebrates that historic win.
Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, changed its name in 1973 to reflect the land’s Maya natives. Belize is now a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen as its head of state. The nation continues to struggle with its geographical and social challenges, with one foot in the 21st century and the other one back in the 1800s. Regardless, the day celebrates the anniversary of the country turning over a new leaf.
There is a month-long celebration leading up to September 21, as Belizeans from around the country dress up in the nation’s colors and take part in parades and processions with marching bands and floats.
Belize Independence Day timeline
British settlers in Belize are granted permission by Spain to enter the logwood industry.
Britain’s post-war economy drains the British Honduras Dollar, leading to public economic animosity.
Britain grants British Honduras the right to self-governance.
British Honduras becomes Belize.
Belize achieves complete sovereignty over the British Empire.
Belize Independence Day FAQs
What is the official currency of Belize?
The Belize dollar is the official currency of Belize.
What is Belize known for?
Belize has beautiful jungles and abundant rainforests.
Is Belize a part of Honduras?
Although the nation was formerly known as British Honduras, Belize has never been a part of Honduras.
Belize Independence Day Activities
Throw a feast
There’s no better day to crack over a bottle of rum punch and have a Belizean-themed feast with your friends. Cheers!
Fly the flag
Show your support to the nation on its Independence Day by posting Belize’s official flag on your social media. You can even hang it on your window for an hour or two.
Watch the parades
Go to the social media pages of prominent personalities from Belize and catch a glimpse of the Independence Day parade. It’s a colorful and unforgettable experience.
5 Fun Facts About Belize
Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language.
The land of the cocoa
The nation’s famous Toledo Cacao Fest promises a memorable tour into the chocolate-making process.
Here come the riches
Belize’s sound economic policies have given it the 3rd highest per capita income in Central America.
Rats for dinner
Belize’s most-loved dish, “Gibnut,” is actually made of cooked rodents and has also been served to Queen Elizabeth.
The UNESCO attraction
Belize is home to the Belize Barrier Reef, which holds more than 450 species of exotic fishes and seven other landmarks.
Why We Love Belize Independence Day
It marks a turning point
For centuries, Belize’s fate lay in the hands of colonial rulers and expats who took no interest in the welfare of its citizenry. The dawn of September 21, 1981, brought forward the age of sovereignty and democracy for the country.
It honors past leaders
The day honors the nation’s first prime minister, George Cadle Price. It also remembers local leaders who united the distraught tribes of the land and made it into a country.
It’s a patriotic celebration
Belize Independence Day reaffirms patriotism and love for the country and pays tribute to the people who gave their lives to serve the proud nation. It’s all about respect.
Belize Independence Day dates