2023 Dia De San Pedro is Coming Up: Tradition, Piety, Fishing & A Carnival

Every year, Ambergris Caye looks forward to Dia De San Pedro – festivities that combine religion and culture, as well as a carnival and music, to celebrate the patron saint of the island, San Pedro or St. Peter.

Beautiful painting of the history of San Pedro

You can read a brief modern history of the island – one that goes from the Caste Wars of the Yucatan and the fleeing of many to northern Belize to coconut plantations and copra production to a fishing industry to tourism – here, in Part One and Part Two.

The painting, that was on display at the now-closed San Pedro House of Culture, above represents some of this history.

For over 100 years, the village (and then town in 1981) of San Pedro has celebrated St. Peter, the patron saint of net makers, shipbuilders and fishermen.

St Peter in front of RC Church
San Pedro, St. Peter, with his fishing net in front of the RC Church just next to Central Park

Nine days of piety and a nine-step altar. The statue of St Peter would move up a step each night at one of the novenas…or services held at a local family’s house.

The novenas or nine days devoted to the saint would end with the bishop coming from Belize City to be met by decorated local boats and docks. He would confirm local children readied for their confirmation, perform a blessing of a parade of the fishing boats (sometimes with holy water in a water pistol!), and then a feast and festival.

Back in the days before restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, this sort of party was hugely anticipated. Dance contests, a huge band, food, and a giant party.

For more events that happen on Ambergris Caye and Belize throughout the year, check out my Belize Events – Holidays and Festivals page.

In the last 100 years, San Pedro has grown by leaps and bounds and then some but the basic idea remains the same. And this year, 2023, the Roman Catholic church has a great schedule of events to celebrate St. Peter and fishing in general. Which has shifted from a solely commercial industry to include sport fishing and fly-fishing- both very important economic centers on the island.

See the Church’s Facebook page for more information.

The events above take place on June 29th, a Thursday. Also, Don Severo’s Dock is on Back A Back Street – if you are interested in seeing the boats.

The following night is the HUGELY popular Miss San Pedro pageant. It all kicked off on June 7th at a Sashing Ceremony – and continues until the pageant on June 30th. The young women will be appearing at events all over town…and…even if you think that you are not “the pageant-loving type”…it’s so cute to see young kids look at the contestants in awe and adoration…

It’s a beloved institution in San Pedro. You can follow all the updates (there are lots!) on the pageant’s facebook page. Beautiful photo from their page.

(And I need to figure out how to remember the spelling of pageant – I type it wrong (pagaent) each and every time. Thank you spell check!)

And lastly, there will be a Carnival happening at Saca Chispas (the football field on Back Street, San Pedro)

How did Saca Chipas get that name?

The Ferris wheel is being set up now and the rides…

Ferris wheel just starting to go up
Old carnival ride
Old Carnival ride

Usually on the Saturday night, there is music and food and dancing and…the carnival for the kids. That would be July 1st. Keep an eye on the San Pedro Town Council’s social media sites – especially the Facebook page – for more. (There is SO much information put out on this page – it’s a must-follow)

Also happening during Dia De San Pedro: The Biggest Fishing Competition in the country and the parties that surround this event.

And…I will be out of the country! I am heading to RI for one week only – AND flying out of Cancun. OY.

I’ll fill you in on all of that when I return. But the tickets from Cancun to PVD (Providence, RI) were just about $950 cheaper than flying from BZE. So my choice was clear…

But getting too and from Cancun? Is not the easy breezy process that it might seem like at first glance. Staying tuned!

Here’s the last time I took that overnight bus from Belize City to Cancun and I swore NEVER AGAIN!

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1 Comment

  1. HARPO ZANEIS on June 14th, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    Will be waiting for your report on traveling to Cancun and flight