To me this picture says everything you need to know about Belize on Independence Day. The country is young, vibrant, ambitious — you’d have to be to wear a rig this bountiful on a day this hot! It is no accident that this costume reflects the natural blues and greens of the foliage and Caribbean Sea in the background.
San Pedro’s Jump Up parade completely lacks the gravitas of nations with long histories of war and loss. The country’s one significant battle for independence is celebrated on Sept. 10, The Battle for St. George’s Caye, and even that seems to be receding into the realm of legend.
The 21st is given over to celebrating the people of Belize with sensuous dance, loud music, outrageously stunning costumes and a joviality that just shouts “Damn! It is good to be in Belize!”
This is my third parade and it never gets old — much like Belize.
The parade assembles along Boca del Rio, on the waterfront, where a few breezes keep everyone in high spirits. This year it was all to begin early — assemble at 9 a.m., begin marching at 10 a.m.
Well, that didn’t happen. At 9:30 Boca del Rio was practically deserted.
Feeling foolish for being on time, I retreated to the shade of Wayo’s Beach Bar and nursed one of Brandon’s chilled and spicy Bloody Mary drinks. Or maybe two. Suddenly around 11 a.m. the Boca sprang to life. Towers of speakers on the back of trucks began pumping out Jump Up beats and brightly costumed marchers were suddenly everywhere, scrambling for formation, cross-pollinating this mad rainbow of themes and coloration as they searched for their units.
It takes dedication to march in this torrid tropical heat. But as the marchers and dancers and jump-upers headed off they were fresh, filled with hope and laughter and ready for what was on down the road — just like Belize.
Here’s a sampling of it all.
This entry was posted in Belize, This is Belize and tagged Ambergris Caye, Belize, Belize Tourism Board, Bound for Belize, expats, Flying Pinata, Independence Day, Jump Up Parade, Mystic Mas, parade, Robert J. Hawkins, San Pedro, San Pedro Town, San Pedro Town Council, tourism.