The love of country is never as present as it is on independence day.
The culmination of September’s festivities comes on Thursday, September 21st when Belizeans celebrate their country’s 36th year of independence. This is a time of jubilation and patriotic pride. As young as the country might be, Belize has a long history of civic pride.
From the first defiant settlers called the Baymen to the political heroes that fought for self-government; there is no shortage of patrimony for those that call this jewel home.
The love of country can be noted in the songs composed by historic nationalists that are sung by school children and adults alike. They are a deep rooted reflection of the peoples’ appreciation for their homeland.
One of such songs composed by Edward P. York and Phillip C. Campbell lyrics read:
“Home of my fathers true and brave,
Land of my earliest days.
Love of my heart whose worth I raise,
Teach me to sing thy praise…”
A British Crown Colony since 1862, Belize’s road from a small wood logging settlement to a self-governed state, and finally to an independent country was a tumultuous one. Nevertheless, the diplomatic savvy, bravery and resolve of those that believed in protecting their livelihoods won out in the end.
Today, commemoration of September 21st 1981 is celebrated with a parade. Students wear their school uniforms while marching down city streets waving their flags to the rhythmic percussions of drums. Onlookers enjoy a sea of vibrant colours and grinning faces. The independence day parade is a lovely tradition. During the month of September you can catch kids practicing countrywide within most towns and villages.
If you’re in Belize City the parade begins Thursday morning at 9:30 am after a ceremony at The Memorial Park.
Be sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, plenty of water and your best “Hip Hip Horray” cheer!
Did you know?
- Belize was not always this territory’s name it was also known as the “Bay of Honduras” and later “British Honduras”.
- George Cadle Price is known to Belizeans as “The Father of the Nation”, due to his pivotal role in Belize attaining its independence for Britain.