Experiencing history and traditions
No need to be on the islands to enjoy some of the most popular Easter events in Belize– if you’re in Cayo, here are some you can’t miss!
Benque Viejo del Carmen, the closest town to the Belize-Guatemala border, is an ancient township well known for keeping many traditions alive—and Easter is no exception. In fact, this season is one of the most celebrated weeks in the otherwise quiet community and people from all over the country travel here to participate or experience the religious events.
At the break of dawn, Benqueños begin filling up the streets to create the “Alfombras de Acerin”, Spanish for sawdust carpets. These vibrantly colourful and creative carpets can be found throughout Benque Viejo del Carmen starting at midday; the flooring decorates the town so beautifully and acts as a guide for the re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross.
Photo Credit: TravelBelize.org
Typically, these recreations of the life of Jesus of Nazarene start a week before Easter and continue with morning church masses. After a Good Friday evening ceremony, the streets of Benque are filled again with on-lookers who await the reenactment of the Way of the Cross where the locals powerfully display the day Jesus was crucified– the Benque Viejo Marching Band and other Belizean bands follow along. The Holy Week in Benque finishes off with a demonstration of Jesus in the tomb and Sunday of Resurrection.
Photo courtesy of iTravelBelize.com
The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Race is the biggest one-day race in Belize. The race which is approximately 140 miles starts up in Belize City and proceeds as follows,
BTL Park, Newtown Barrack, Belize City unto Freetown Road, crosses Belcan Bridge unto Central American Boulevard, Lord Ridge Cemetery and unto the George Price Highway where the official start takes in place in front of Leslie’s Imports. The race will then travel to San Ignacio Town around Columbus Park and return to Belize City via Central American Boulevard over the Belcan Bridge unto Princess Margaret Drive, passing the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital, the Marlon Jones Sporting Complex and The Hour Bar unto Newtown Barrack– finishing in front of the BTL Park. – Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic
Photo credit of Belize Hub
Starting up at 5:50am, the Classic normally arrives to San Ignacio Town approximately at 9:00am. It finishes at approximately 12:00pm in Belize City where competitors try to defeat to the record time of 6 hours, 5 minutes.
Fun Fact: The first Cross Country Cycling Race happened on April 5th, 1928 where Elston Kerr, a Burrell Boom resident from Northern Belize, won the accolade. At the time, the quickest connection to San Ignacio was a road directed to Orange Walk; Kerr made it back in about 13 hours. The second race was held in 1929 where Kerr won again becoming the first repeat champion.
Another great activity happening in San Ignacio, Belize during Holy Saturday is the opening night of the San Ignacio Easter Fair at the Macal Park. Crowds fill the park to enjoy a variety of small, yet fun, mechanical rides, foods, drinks, live entertainment, and many more activities. Time for this festivity begins at 10:00am and ends about 3:00am.
If you would like to attend a mass but don’t know where; the Sacred Heart Parish located on Church Street, San Ignacio will be having mass at 6:30am and 9:30am. For more information, you may contact them at 824-2148.
The San Ignacio Easter Fair closes off with a day full of entertainment starting at 1:00pm and finishing at 1:00am. If you aren’t able to attend the event on Saturday or didn’t get on all the rides, here is your chance! Why not stop by all the food stalls or try your luck at the games? There will be plenty of fun for the whole family on this two-day event.
For more information on the San Ignacio Easter Fair, you can visit the San Ignacio & Santa Elena Town Council’s page.
Photo credit of BelizeHub
Normally, a very good weekend would want to be finished with a bang. For Easter Monday, most people slow it down and take the time to relax and get ready for the week ahead. You can find families at pools and river banks or children organizing football games all around town.
However, if you are up for a little more than chilling by the river, check out our Belize adventure tours and choose a perfect closing to your Easter vacation in Belize.
*Most businesses are closed all day on Good Friday. If you would like further information, you can check out the Belize Tourism Board’s website for details.
Wikipedia: Belize Cycling
Belize.com: Holy Saturday Events