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National Heroes and Benefactors Day – March 9, 2023

National Heroes and Benefactors Day is observed on March 9 in Belize. It aims to honor and provide a dedication to Baron Bliss, who contributed millions to the people of Belize, improving their livelihood.

History of National Heroes and Benefactors Day

National Heroes and Benefactors Day, formerly Baron Bliss Day, is a significant holiday in Belize. The purpose of the holiday was to honor the late Baron Bliss. The baron became a martyr when he died and willed nearly two million Belize dollars to a trust fund. His contribution eased the lives of many citizens of Belize.

Baron Bliss was born in 1869 as Henry Edward Ernest Victor Barrettes. In his early adulthood, he took the familial title of Fourth Baron Barreto. He worked hard to become a successful engineer and earned substantial wealth by manufacturing gun parts for the British. He also served for several years as an excellent Justice of the Peace, often advocating for people’s rights and preventing several conflicts. Unfortunately, when Baron Bliss turned 42, he contracted polio and became paralyzed from the waist down, which stopped him from working as an engineer. But his spirit was as strong as ever.

Once Baron Bliss realized that now he had all the time in the world to indulge in his passions, he decided to sail to the Caribbean and spent his time indulging his passions for fishing and sailing. He enjoyed spending time on the water and getting in touch with nature. It was a peaceful and calming experience for him. Baron Bliss traveled to the Bahamas and Trinidad and spent his time traveling the beautiful reefs and meeting the people. He later went to British Honduras, known as Belize today, and loved it so much that he spent the rest of his life there. But he never settled on the mainland. Instead, he lived on his yacht and left his wealth to the people of Honduras when he died.

National Heroes and Benefactors Day timeline

1869
Baron Bliss is Born

Baron Bliss begins his journey of life in Buckinghamshire, England.

1911
He Gets Polio

Baron Bliss suffers from polio and becomes paralyzed from the waist down.

1926
He Changes His Will

Baron Bliss decides to pass his fortune to British Honduras when he realizes he has a terminal illness.

1926
He Passes Away

Baron Bliss dies and is buried in Belize City.

National Heroes and Benefactors Day FAQs

What was the Bliss trust fund used for?

The money was used to develop institutes like the Bliss School of Nursing and the In-Transit Lounge at the Belize National Airport.

Were there rules to the Bliss trust fund?

Bliss stated in his will that the fund would not be used to build schools, churches, or dance halls unless they were vocational or agricultural.

Did Belize get water?

The Baron Bliss trust fund helped to set up the Belize City water supply system.

How to Observe National Heroes and Benefactors Day

  1. Thank a hero

    A hero is anyone who offers assistance to someone else. Appreciate someone who is known for helping others.

  2. Learn about Belize

    You can learn more about Belize and its rich culture on the holiday. There are many interesting facts about Belize you’ll be surprised to learn.

  3. Visit Belize

    Pay a visit to the beautiful country. Experience the incredible culture, talk with the seafaring people, and take a dive in the Great Blue Hole.

5 Surprising Facts About Baron Bliss

  1. A lighthouse was built to honor him

    The Baron Bliss Memorial Lighthouse was built to honor the baron.

  2. He used a wheelchair

    He fished from his yacht while being supported by a wheelchair.

  3. He named his yacht

    He named his yacht the Sea King II.

  4. He lived in Marlow before traveling

    He lived in Marlow before his travels overseas.

  5. He was married

    He was married to Ethel Alice, Baroness Bliss.

Why National Heroes and Benefactors Day is Important

  1. It has boat races

    Traditional boat races are held during the holiday. Many people enjoy watching the fun water sport. If you enjoy boat riding, participate in a boat race. You’ll love it!

  2. It features kite flying

    People in Belize fly kites, which is banned in several countries, during the celebration. So, if you’ve never tried to fly a kite before, the holiday is the time to try.

  3. It preserves history

    The holiday helps to preserve the traditions and history of Belize. It passes the culture on to new generations.

National Heroes and Benefactors Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 9Thursday
2024March 9Saturday
2025March 9Sunday
2026March 9Monday
2027March 9Tuesday

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