Belize Holidays: Popular to Little-known, everything you need to know

Belize Holidays

Belize Holidays

Currently Belize has 14 official bank holidays. [Note: Since 2014, some of those holidays have changed and/or been renamed.] As of December 2022 these are the most updated Belize holidays.

September is biggest holiday month of the Belize year.  To Belizeans, holidays are significant beyond having a day or two off work.  They truly embrace the reason for each holiday and celebrate with enthusiasm!  The recent independence (1981) of Belize could be the source of this passion for celebrating the holidays.  So, this blog contains a list of National Belize holidays, as well as some of the history of the lesser-known holidays.

Common Holidays

Belize shares some of the same holidays as other countries, like:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Labour Day (May)
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Since most visitors to Belize are already familiar with these holidays, this Blog focuses more on the lesser-known and most important Belize holidays.

Most Important Holidays


Belize Holidays

Even though Easter is a holiday season in other countries, Easter is undoubtedly the most important Belize holiday, because of the multiple days of holidays associated with it; three official bank holidays plus an extra half day!  Easter holidays include Good Friday, Easter Saturday, (Easter Sunday) & Easter Monday.  And most Belize businesses close by noon on Holy Thursday.

So, if you are traveling to Belize during the Easter holiday, be prepared for very few businesses, including restaurants to be open.  Usually only resort restaurants will be open.  Not to worry though, all tours will be operating.  While some may close on Easter Sunday, most operate throughout the holiday season.

Belize Holidays

Additionally, the largest bike race of the year occurs Easter Saturday.  So, prepare for roadblocks and slow traffic between Belize City to San Ignacio for a good part of the day!


September is a big month for Belize holidays.  St. George’s Caye Day is near the beginning of the month, while Belize’s Independence Day is during the third week of the month.  So, between these two holidays there are a lot of firecrackers, music, and parties.  Pack some earplugs if you are traveling to Belize during September!


Belize celebrates St. George’s Caye Day on September 10th.   This holiday commemorates the day the Baymen (British settlers, pirates and slaves) defeated the Spaniards in 1798.

The Battle of St. George’s Caye lasted 8 days, ending with a Belize victory on September 10th.  This was the last time the Spaniards attempted to conquer Belize, after trying many times since 1716!

Thus, the ultimate defeat of the Spaniards is why Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America.

Belize Holidays


Just like the United States, Belize’s Independence Day is a celebration of independence from Great Britain.  But, unlike the U.S. who fought and won their independence nearly 250 years ago, Belize gained independence (without a war) on September 21st, 1981.

Nearly two weeks of Independence Day celebrations begin on the Battle of St. George’s Caye (9/10), and include parades, parties, street fairs and of course fireworks!

Belize Holidays

Other Belize Holidays

There are four other National holidays that Belizeans celebrate including: 

  • January – George Price Day
  • March – National Heroes & Benefactor’s Day
  • August – Emancipation Day (Note: in 2023 celebrated on 7/31, in lieu of 8/1)
  • October – Indigenous People Day
  • November – Garifuna Settlement Day

What is Did George Price do for Belize?

Photo from Amandala Newspaper

George Price was the first Minister of Belize (1961) and he led the team in negotiations for independence from The United Kingdom. He became Premier Minister in 1964. Finally, in 1981 Belize gained its independence, and Price served as the country’s first Prime Minister until 1984.

Here’s more information about George Cadle Price

What is National Heroes & Benefactors Day?

Celebrated in March, the original name for the holiday was Baron Bliss Day, so we’ll start there.  Baron Bliss was a wealthy British traveler, who upon his death in 1926, willed most of his fortune to British Honduras (now Belize).  He did this without ever setting foot on Belize soil.  Instead he explored the coastline of Belize for about two months prior to his death.  Here’s a link for a more complete biography of Baron Bliss

When he died, Bliss’ fortune was worth nearly $1.8 million BZE.  His will included instructions that only the ‘interest earned’ could be spent, and because of that the fund is worth nearly $1.2 million today, even after spending over $2 million on multiple projects in Belize since 1926!

In 2008 the holiday name was changed to National Heroes and Benefactors Day to recognize the many other Belizean Heroes and Benefactors including:

Phillip Goldson

Samuel Haynes 

Gwendolyn Lizarraga 

Sir Isaiah Morter 

Nicholas Pollard, Sr.,

Thomas Vincent Ramos

Cleopatra White

Belize Holidays

What is Emancipation Day?

In 2021 Belize joined the rest of the Caribbean in celebrating Emancipation Day. The new holiday commemorates the abolishment of slavery.

On August 1st, 1838, enslaved Africans were legally freed. Emancipation Day is celebrated in Canada and most English-speaking Caribbean nations. It is considered a time for reflection. This day is a perfect occasion to rekindle a sense of pride and to move forward as a resilient, courageous, and beautiful nation of different people.

What is Indigenous People’s Resistance Day?

This October holiday honors the native groups of the Americas who resisted European colonial conquests. Honoring the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout Belize, the holiday recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Belizeans, and also celebrates the multiple cultures, contributions, and resilience of Belizeans.  Other countries have similar holidays with different names to honor native peoples.

Belize Holidays

And finally, What is Garifuna Settlement Day?

To fully understand this holiday, first let’s define ‘Garifuna.’  The Garifuna are an ethnic group of people in Belize (and other Central American countries) that arrived after being exiled from the islands of the Lesser Antilles by the British army after a series of slave revolts.  This link includes much more information about the Garifuna.

Thus, the holiday celebrates the settlement of the Garifuna people in Belize after their exile from their Caribbean Island homes.  And the festivities for Garifuna Day are most prominent in Dangriga, but parades, dancing & music festivals can be found throughout Belize.

Belize Holidays

Wrapping it Up!

By now you can probably see that holidays in Belize are much more important to Belizeans than U.S. holidays are to many U.S. citizens.  On most of the holidays the entire nation of Belize literally shuts down.  There are no banks open, no government offices open, no schools, and few grocery stores open.  And public transportation (bus service) is nearly non-existent.  Belizeans definitely know how to relax and celebrate the holidays!

Be aware that even some tourist services may shut down for holidays, especially Easter & Christmas holidays.  Obviously lodging accommodations remain open, but there is a lack of open restaurants (usually only the high end resorts, and by reservation only).  But we’ve never known a lack of tour opportunities – and all of the Maya ruins and National Parks, etc., remain open during the holidays.

So, just be prepared for a lot of loud partying including firecrackers, as Belizeans relish the Belize holidays with gusto!

And for additional information about Belize, check out these other Blogs:

Essentials to Pack for an Amazing Belize Vacation

Top 7 Insider Belize Travel Tips

Belize Vacation Itineraries

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