Friday, April 2, 2010

EASTER IN BELIZE

It's vacation time in Belize-the week of Easter, it's a time when schools and many businesses close down and half the country seemingly takes to the beaches, offshore islands, parks and the spectacular great outdoors. It is also a time when the countryside is covered in blooms of many different colors.

                             
                

Flowers at Easter Time
With over 80% of Belize’s population being Christian, the holy week has its origin in Christianity. Traditionally, Easter is celebrated for four days, each day having its own celebrations and events in various parts of the country; Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.  

Here are some of the events and tips for trips as part of the Easter celebrations in Belize:


Good Friday, which traditionally marks Christ's crucifixion and death,  is a quiet day with minimal traveling,  and the major radio station plays only gospel music and most churches hold a commemoration service. Countrywide,  no liquor is sold until 6 p.m. Traditional foods include fish, beans, rice and the cross bun and cheese is never far away.

Growing up we were told that if you swam on Good Friday you would turn into a fish or a mermaid; if you broke an egg at midday and placed it in a clear glass of water and left it in the sun for some time, it would foretell your future. If you saw what looked like a ship it meant someone would travel, a church meant someone would marry, a coffin someone would die, etc.

In the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen in the Cayo District, they have an elaborate re-enactment of the Passion of Christ. In other parts of the country you can see worshipers following the Stations of the Cross and roadside altars covered with flowers in remembrance of Jesus' death at 3:00p.m.
Re-enactment of the crucifixion in Benque Viejo, Belize
  
Holy Saturday is best known for the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic. This a 140 mile bike race starting in Belize City, traveling west to San Ignacio where the riders turn around and head back to Belize City. Last year's champion was Mexican rider Carlos Lopez, who finished the race in six hours, one minute and forty-one second, winning out 99 other cyclists from Belize, U.S.A, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Cuba.

This year will be the 82nd ride. The first race was in 1928 with Elston Kerr as the  champion and Norris Wade as the sub-champion. The ride dates back to the period when Monrad Metzen picked up the idea, because people used to cover miles on their bicycles to attend the weekly game of cricket in the Belizean villages. He sowed the idea of a sporting event in the difficult regions of the Western Highway which were then poorly built, and so it all began.
Cross Country Classic Winners 1928-1930
Elston Kerr, Sr: Winner of the First and Second Cross Country Classic
Year (Date)WinnerSecond Place
1928 (April 5–9)Elston KerrNorris Wade
1929 (March 28-April 1)Elston KerrDavid Graham
1930Norris WadeElston Kerr


Cross Country Cycle Classic
After the race there is an all day fair in San Ignacio,  and other areas of Belize have their own festivities planned. Most popular spots include Caye Caulker and Placencia. There is also held a midnight Easter vigil in most churches as well, to herald in Easter Sunday.

On Easter Sunday, traditionally celebrated as Christ's resurrection, there are church services held throughout the country and it is a time for families, and friends to get together. It is a time to proclaim one's faith and to strengthen ties with God. It's an important celebration in the lives of all the faithful.
 San Roman Church with replica of Christ's body


Easter Monday is the winding down of the four day weekend. There are still activities going on,  the main ones being another cycle race from Belize City to the Sylvester Stadium in Burrell Boom, where there is an all day celebration, horse races, food and music.

And so comes the end of the Easter weekend, Tuesday is back to work, maybe productivity a little bit off, but hey the weather is still great.



Horse Racing in Burrell Boom


Enjoy your Easter Belize...





8 comments:

Jane said...

Planning to.....international cricket tomorrow (Holy Saturday) in Boom.

Anonymous said...

This is a great story!! Did not know that kind of re-enactment takes place in Belize. Also love the horses, makes me want to fly home for Monday!!

Dorla Crawford said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks for reminding Belizeans who are far away from home of the events that take place in our beautiful country for this special Easter season. Enjoy your holidays!

Dorla Crawford

Anonymous said...

Very nice to read about the Easter tradition in Belize.

Surely missing out on all the fun and traditions. I remember all the fun Easters we use to have in Crooked Tree! Horse race, softball, dance, going down to the lagoon and chruch service on Sunday morning.

Beulah Wright-Tillett said...

I really enjoyed reading your article. I had just been reminiscing about my childhood days in Belize. There are unforgettable and I often share them with my husband and friends.
Beulah Wright- Tillett

Linda Crawford said...

Ms. Beulah, Dorla, Jane, and everyone, thanks very much for your kind words. It means a lot to me!

Happy Easter to all!

Rose L. said...

Does any one else know what other superstitions that surround Good Friday? I remember something about lighting a candle....and maybe others. Maybe could collect some of these.

Pam said...

If you put your ring in a glass of water tied to a thread and swing it around in the glass and the glass breaks you are getting a divorce. I heard that one as a child growing up back home.

Pamela Banner Bucknor