A yearly celebration for all Belizeans countrywide
St George’s Caye Day
A celebration for all Belizeans countrywide
In Belize, September is a month of Celebration, and after the Carnival festivities end the week prior, this weekend we keep celebrating.
On September 10th each year, all people of Belize gather to commemorate St. George’s Caye Day. This year's theme: is “Industrious Hands, Intelligent Minds, Together for Belize”.
On this day, “Families and friends line the parade route with hats, seats, and snow cones. Even Belizeans from abroad come home to partake in this historical event awaiting the jump-up truck. The crowd flocks proudly, hugging, dancing, and marching while waving our bold flag!” - Belize Tourism Board .
Why is this Saint George Caye Day so important?
This celebration marks the 224th anniversary of the Battle of Saint George’s Caye between a small force of buccaneers called the Baymen and the Spanish invaders which occurred between September 3rd and 10th, 1798.
The Mexicans attempted to claim British Honduras (present-day Belize) as part of colonial Spainish territories. Although they never occupied the territory, Spain considered Belize part of its Central American territories, which included portions of Mexico and Guatemala.
“The Spaniards in the 1500s made constant attempts to control the Yucatan coast that included Belize. In the mid-17th century, some British sailors shipwrecked near the coast and they settled there. They were known as the Baymen and these buccaneer adventurers began to cut logwood in Belize and export them to Europe. The Spaniards never gave up claims on Belize territory. They returned with 32 vessels, manned by 500 seamen and two thousand soldiers to affect the event. The battle started on the 3rd of September 1798 and ended on the 10th of September.” Wiki
The Baymen aided by black slaves fought for their livelihood. In the final hours of the battle, ravaged by sickness, the Spaniards withdrew. The Spaniards were in full retreat by 13 September and never came back (at least not to claim these territories).
How is Saint Georges Caye Day celebrated?
On the 100th anniversary of the battle, the colonial government declared 9 and 10 September a national holiday. St George’s Caye Day is considered a national and historic event to recognize the efforts of the Baymen and slaves, as ancestors of Belize. This important day is a national public and bank holiday.
Multiple festivities include an official ceremony with fireworks and cultural presentations and a colourful carnival parade with floats depicting the national symbols of Belize on September 10th all across the country.