Belize, 36 years old and still partying like a youngster

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Belize Independence Day Parade in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Celebrating 36 years of freedom.

“Our determination to keep things stable and our country free must never falter. And it is in that context that I endorse this September’s thematic call for us to ceaselessly renew our nation-building resolve. But let our patriotism be year-round, and not just a seasonal thing. Let it be a wellspring for inexhaustible optimism, for never seeing through a glass, darkly. And let it ensure that the inevitable disagreements within a democracy on the move, never become so dissonant as to upset our ultimate oneness and indivisibility. As it is on this day, on this venerated hill, so let it be always: that red and white and blue and white in the end merge to become red, blue and white.”

— Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, Independence Day 2017

Here’s some more about the prime minister’s speech.

As expected, this morning’s 10 a.m. Independence Day jump-up parade in San Pedro, Belize, began right on time: about 12:30 p.m.

Parade watchers at the traffic circle in San Pedro, Belize.

Once it begins, the parade is a force of nature — bodies undulate to mad beats from flatbed sound systems. Fistfulls of hard candy hurl toward scrabbling kiddos. Beers are poured and cups refilled from handy coolers. Brilliant feathers, gaudy gimlet costumery, shiny beads and brilliant smiles create a booty-shaking kaleidoscopic snake that works its way down Middle Street before rounding for home in Central Park.

Baby, it’s hot out there, and the steamy weather doesn’t help either.

Belikin, anyone?

This year, half the parade was nearly AWOL. The incumbent UDP council and its followers and floats and dancers and town employees had long since marched to the finish before the PUP and its contingent reached the end of Middle Street. Hmmm. Was there a little political cock-blocking going on?

Remember what the Prime Minister said: “so let it be always: that red and white (UDP) and blue and white (PUP) in the end merge to become red, blue and white.”

Ultimately, in Central Park, that is what happened, goaded on by flowing beer, cheap food and loud music. Although, PUP had its own party going on, on Boca del Rio later in the day, with live music from the Caribbean Kings.

So, here is a sample of the parade, in pictures. Take time to appreciate all the hard work that goes into putting together some of these incredibly elaborate — if skimpy — costumes! The pictures never quite capture the joyfulness of the day. But maybe a little taste will leave you hungry for more …

What the heck, come on down next year and join the party.




After the parade, a dip in the Caribbean Sea.

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