September Independence Happenings in San Pedro, Belize: 2022
Just this afternoon, I saw the first decorations going up…and soon they will be all over the island. September is THE celebration month in Belize. Celebrating 2 holidays: Sept 10th (and the Battle of St George’s Caye) and September 21 (Independence Day) and then filling the space in between.
Slow-season you say? Some businesses close for renovations and vacations but there is a TON going on on Ambergris Caye and around the country. And this year is the first year we’ve had proper celebrations since 2019. Two Septembers off = lots of pent of September celebration energy.
Here are the events, officially announced by the San Pedro Town Council. I thought I’d try to explain a bit for those who might be celebrating for the first time. One or two of the events, like Service Day, are new (I think)
You might want to play this amazing song by the incredible Lord Rhaburn to get in the mood: Belize You Born Deh
And see below where the 86-year old legend will be appearing this September!
And if you are visiting, bring your red, white and blue. They are the color of September.
Sept 9th, Friday
Fire Engine Parade – A parade through the main streets of San Pedro scheduled for 6:30pm but almost always runs late. A great time to have dinner in town – especially a spot that is open to the street.
Sept 10th, Saturday, Battle of St. George’s Caye Day
A National Holiday celebrating the end of the battle of a small group of English Baymen and their slaves to finally eject the Spanish from British Honduras/Belize in 1798.
There is a morning uniform parade – always the school kids in their school uniforms (I believe every school on the island – and in the country requires uniforms), the police, and town workers. Sometimes it’s bigger than the parade on the 21st (though a bit more subdued) – and it’s always a HOT HOT RED HOT day.
Photos and links from previous years:
It all usually starts with the official crowning of Miss San Pedro (you can see the event in 2017)…
After the parade is a beach party in Central Park.
Sept 16th, Friday
Noche Centro Americana/Centro- American Night
Belize is the smallest country in Central America by population (by a long shot) – but not by area. El Salvador is about 8,100 sq miles vs. Belize’s 8,867 square miles. But the population difference – oh my. Belize has about 410,000 people vs. El Salvador’s 6.5 million!
Due to the instability in some of our surrounding countries – especially in the 80s and 90s – Belize became a natural place for migrants – and you’ll meet many people who moved here (or families moved here) from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
In previous years, the town has held a festival – and it looks fantastic. Dancing, costumes, music and lots and lots of food. Take a look at the San Pedro Sun’s article and photos from 2019.
El Salvador gave us pupusas. The melty cheesy grilled tortilla cakes that are some of the most delicious foods on earth.
Sept 17th, Saturday
It is my opinion that the most joyous music in the world is Soca music. It officially started in the 70s in Trinidad and Tobago and is a combination of soul and funk and reggae and calypso. ALL the good stuff. Throw in a horn section and maybe some steel pans…it’s the music of Carnival.
And this year, the Town Council is having a Soca night concert – late night! – starring Destra from the land of soca, Trinidad. She’s one of the most popular soca artists in the world.
Beware…if you click on this song, you will NOT be able to get it out of your head all day. IT’S CARNIVAL.
And then in between is a Service Day – to clean up the town. LOVE THIS!
Sept 20th, Tuesday
Independence Eve: Party, DJs and Fireworks at Saca Chispas (the “old football field” on Back Street)
From a few years ago…
This will be a late night!
September 21st, Independence Day!
The morning – EARLY morning – starts with J’ouvert. It is the official start to Carnival celebrated around the Caribbean – usually before the post-Lent carnival season. It’s an early morning dance and paint and sometimes chocolate syrup street party…that usually ends up in the sea. It’s been celebrated in Belize City for a while…
And just came to San Pedro, I believe, less than 10 years ago. A Road March at dawn.
The day of the Jump Up parade. Here is what I can count on – it will start late, I will be SOOO hot I won’t think I can make it to the end (and I’m not in it!), and my heart will almost burst with Belizean pride.
Here’s how the parade is shaping up. In the last few years, the parade has started north of town – lining up along the water at Boca Del Rio.
This year they are lining up south – so if you live south of town…dang. You might want to take the back roads!
It’s all followed by a party in Central Park – that in the past has included music, colored powder parties and even a helicopter drop of candy. Ouch 🙂
Other Big Events Around Belize
September 9th: Lord Rhaburn Legends Concert, Belize City
September 16th and 17th: 2022 Belize Market Expo This event is fun, frenetic, crowded…it’s vendors from all over the country, big and small and more…. Take a look at the time I attended.
September 21st: The HUGE Independence Day Parade in Orange Walk town
PHEW! There is a ton going on! Now who told you September wasn’t a great time to visit Belize.