Celebrate St. George’s Caye Day in Belize
In 1798, it wasn’t clear whether Spain or Britain would ultimately gain full control over the area now known as Belize. A large naval battle was held in the waters off of St. George’s Caye and the British ultimately triumphed which is why Belize is the only English-speaking nation in Central America today.
In 1898, on the centenary of the battle, the British colonial secretary declared September 9-10 to be official holidays. Today, just September 10 is a public holiday although there are plenty of patriotic parades, concerts, and street fairs in the days leading up to St. George’s Caye Day.
Why You Have to Attend the St. George’s Caye Day Celebration
St. George’s Caye Day is more than just a single national holiday – it’s the official kickoff to the September patriotic season. Look for parades, musical concerts, tug-of-war competitions, bicycle races, fishing tournaments, barbecues, and street parties as St. George’s Caye Day is when Belizeans celebrate their history and heritage in an unabashed outpouring of patriotic pride.
Where in Belize Are the St. George’s Caye Day Celebrations Held?
You can find Belizeans celebrating this important day in every major town and village, but to truly get a unique taste of this holiday, head to St. George’s Caye itself to see a re-enactment of the famous battle.
When Is St. George’s Caye Day Celebrated?
The official day of remembrance is September 10.
Best Way to Get to the St. George’s Caye Day Celebrations
All of the bigger towns and villages will have a celebration, but if you want to see the re-enactment of the naval battle, you’ll have to take a water taxi or private charter. St. George’s Caye is eight miles east of Belize City and the best place to catch a boat ride is at the docks.
Best Way to Experience St. George’s Caye Day in Belize
Join in all the fun and wave the red, white, and blue (the colors of the Belizean flag) alongside all of the locals. To truly get into the spirit of the holiday, you can also learn the poem “Matthew the Bayman” which was written by a high school student in 1954 to commemorate Belize’s heritage (“baymen” was the original term for the first English settlers as they were loggers in the Bay of Honduras (now southern Belize), cutting down valuable hardwood trees for export to Europe).
You can find the text to the poem here.