Celebrating Easter in Belize
When the rest of the world will be painting eggshells and hiding vibrant plastic ones in classic treasure hunt style, Belize will be taking a different approach to celebrating the multifaceted occasion that is Easter. Our country is truly one of a kind, and this especially applies to the way we plan festivities! Easter in Belize is given the longest holiday break in the entire year, with schools going on a two-week holiday, and the public and banks getting a four-day weekend.
While this of course means plenty of partying, it also means upholding our country’s long-held Easter traditions. From baking hot-cross buns to watching the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday, there’s many conventions to keep up with. In order to know what to expect when visiting Belize for Easter vacation, we’ll showcase our country’s most beloved traditions.
Traditional Meals in Belize
There’s no celebration without an accompanied feast! Most people know that partaking in Lent means excluding red meat from their diet, but there are also a few dishes and snacks that make it to our cuisine during this time of year. Mothers and grandmothers alike flock together to bake pillowsoft and honey-slick hot-cross buns. Saturated with spices, these little balls of goodness are made with a cross of dough on the top, signifying the cross Jesus Christ was crucified on. In addition to opting out of red meat during Lent, on Good Friday most people eat fish soup for lunch. Even though Lent ends on Holy Thursday, all meat except fish are forbidden on Good Friday. It is one last delicious meal before the festivities begin.
Displays That Unify the Community
In a village far out west in the Cayo district, Benque Viejo del Carmen conducts their annual procession. After the mass on Good Friday, participants and civilians alike grace the streets with their enactment of Jesus’ Passion and journey to Calvary. This may be considered quite a solemn tradition, as the dramatizations are striking and heartfelt, but the act of being a part of it is astounding. The entire community, alongside visitors from neighboring districts, partake in this tradition. In a rather unique tradition to accompany this procession, the people of Benque Viejo del Carmen also showcase breathtaking sawdust tapestries alongside the streets where the procession passes. These gorgeous works of art bring the entire community together in freeing their artistic abilities and highlighting their gratitude for this year’s celebrations.
This isn’t the only place with a grand procession taking place. In the island of San Pedro, a procession called “The Celebration of Seven Words” is conducted, signifying the seven times Jesus spoke to his disciples before perishing. Men carry a casket, symbolizing Jesus Christ and the women carry the Virgin Mary. Down the streets they walk, and another year’s remembrance of this solemn day is reenacted.
After these sacred activities, Belizeans know how to lighten up the mood! Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are days where everyone has the opportunity to let loose. From gracing the beaches of our country, to attending bicycle races and horse races, the fun never ends. The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic will be held on April 8th of this year. Practiced for almost a century, this event gathers visitors and citizens to observe an exciting route on winding roads and pit stops to support participants.
You’ll see many of us traveling all around the country, finally having the time off for a short vacation. Swimming might be our most popular activity yet, with everyone flocking to Corozal, Placencia, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker for a dip into refreshing waters. With our sun-kissed cheeks and stuffed-full bellies, there’s no other way to get as relaxed as we are on Easter Sunday. It’s a time when Belizeans and visitors alike have the time of their lives in beach parties and backyard cookouts.
On the last day of holiday for most working citizens, Easter Monday in Burrell Boom is celebrated with the Castleton Derby. A great send-off to an action-packed weekend with a myriad of Belizean dishes to eat while you spectate on the beautiful Belizean-bred horses. After partying all weekend, sitting down with this view is quite satisfying. From processions to intricate art and adrenaline-fueled races, Belize has it all on Easter.