Independence Day Celebrations and Decorations

30 09 2012

Belize just celebrated its 31st birthday.  This small country (8,867 square miles and approximately 250,000 people) which used to be British Honduras gained its independence in 1981.  Historically, constitutional reforms were initiated in 1954 and resulted in a new constitution ten years later. Britain granted British Honduras self-government in 1964, and George Price became the colony’s prime minister. British Honduras was officially renamed Belize in 1973. Progress toward independence, however, was hampered by a Guatemalan claim to sovereignty over the territory of Belize. When Belize finally attained full independence on 21 September 1981, Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation. About 1,500 British troops remained to protect Belize from the Guatemalan threat. There are actually two national holidays in September: the Battle of St. George’s Caye Day (September 10th) and Independence Day (September 21st). Traditionally, the revelry starts early in September leading up to the first national holiday on St. George’s Caye Day and continuing on into Independence Day, extending the festivities to almost three weeks. The September celebrations include parades, children and adults waving the Belizean flag everywhere, and decorated vehicles and buildings in the red, white and blue. Here are some decorated houses I found in Belmopan this year:

Here is a classroom at BCA decorated for Independence Day (every single classroom was decorated):

There was a televised Independence Day parade in Belmopan (and others along the Western Highway with schools from San Ignacio and surrounds).

 This was the first parade in which my husband has been required to march for the past 40 years – he was not what I would call happy about it.

Before the parade could begin, we had to wait for the politicians to finish their very long speeches.  Here is our Prime Minister Dean Barrow:

Happy Birthday 31st, Belize!  (I’ve got 20 years on ya!)




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