September Celebrations in Belize
September in Belize rivals all the best festivities in the region put together. Prisms of color bathe the streets, loose joints sway to Soca music, and a palpable sense of patriotic pride fills the air. It’s carnival season.
This season is unlike any other and it’s all attributed to one salacious event: Belize’s Birthday.
On September 21, 1981, Belize gained independence from then-Great Britain, which makes the country relatively young. For the past four decades, Belize has brought life and color to the month of September, attracting travelers from all walks of life.
‘We back pon the road!’
The past two years may have put a damper on the highly anticipated festivities. The pandemic caused Belizeans to long for their parades and vibrant events, forcing us to celebrate in spirit. But this year, the parades, road marches, and everything in between are coming back in full swing. Carnival 2022 is back under the theme, “We outside! We back pon the road.” Truly a testament to the eagerness of our people wanting to honor their country.
With the big day—err, month — several weeks away, you still have time to get into the spirit before your visit. To help you prepare, we’ve outlined the best tips to get you in the mood for Belize’s iconic September celebrations.
Practice your Kriol
A great way to rack up brownie points with fellow Belizeans is knowing a Kriol phrase or two. The local dialect, which resembles Jamaican Patois, is like ‘broken English’ so it shouldn’t be too difficult to learn pronunciations. You have plenty of time to learn phrases like, how yuh di do? (how are you doing), ready fu paaty? (ready to party) or Mek ah try punta (let me try to [dance] punta.) It wouldn’t hurt to learn popular Belizean idioms, either. This way you can drop one or two in a conversation and impress friendly residents for knowing your stuff. One quick way to get started is by listening to the Kriol language either on social media spaces or looking up short lessons on YouTube. A few minutes a day will have you carrying on conversations in no time.
Listen to Belizean Music
When it comes to September Celebrations, half of the hype is the bone-thrumming upbeat music. The carnival dancers thump, gyrate, and jump to drummy beats and quick tempos. The road marches and events like Jouvert are even more energetic. If you happen to have Spotify, this carnival playlist transports you right to the middle of Belize City during carnival. Belizean artists like Supa G are active on YouTube, where the greatest hits live for you to practice your dancing. You can search old Carnival videos to get a gist of what the party is like once September rolls around. Who knows? You might find you have a taste for soca or for authentic Garifuna music from The Garifuna Collective. Not only will you be warming up to great music, but will be supporting independent Belizean artists as well.
Keep Track of the September Calendar
While Independence Day is the big talk all month, there is still a smattering of events happening across the country. For instance, on September 3rd, Jouvert takes place, a fete that begins at 4 a.m. and lasts until dawn. This event is aimed at the youth and involves revelry and dancing throughout the streets of Belize City. It will then lead to the infamous Carnival Road March, a spectacle thousands come to witness. On the 10th, the country commemorates another special day, the Battle of St. George’s Caye, and a pageant takes place. The rest of the month is filled with other activities leading up to one big carnival in Orange Walk Town. This is the Independence Day parade on the actual 21st. Having prior knowledge of each event you want to attend makes it easy to map out your itinerary. Especially if you’re staying in the central hub of San Ignacio.
Book an all-inclusive package
Once you’ve set your sights on visiting Belize in its peak festive season, it’s time to start planning. An all-inclusive package takes away the overwhelming task of making sure every single little detail is covered. For a shoulder-season time like September, your best bet is an all-inclusive Belize vacation package from the Lodge at Chaa Creek. The lodge will take care of transfers, tours, and meals, and know all the ins and outs of the Celebrations. When you’re a little worn out from the bacchanals and merrymaking, some nature-filled downtime in the jungles of Chaa Creek will be the perfect remedy.