While Easter is known globally to be a sacred holiday for Christians, it is celebrated with extra reverence in Belize where most of the population identifies as Roman Catholic. More than hand-painted eggs and gift-giving bunnies, Easter in Belize consists of events honoring the crucifixion – and resurrection – of Jesus Christ.
The Holy & the Heartfelt | Benque Viejo del Carmen
One of the bigger holy events is the dramatization of the Passion and Death of Jesus procession in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District. This takes place on Good Friday during the Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is perhaps the most solemn day of the Easter Weekend. After the evening mass, the procession makes its way through the winding streets of the town, with faithful locals dramatizing Jesus’ gruesome journey to Calvary. The beauty that contrasts this authentic but grave performance is the colorful Alfombras de Acerrin (sawdust tapestries) that line the streets.
The well-known event at Benque Viejo is the main attraction after week-long devout activities led by the House of Culture and spiritual leaders. This is a tradition that has withstood more than two decades of generations and people from all over the country flock to the small town to witness this Easter highlight. Though the act and reason behind it is a somber one, Christians watch in pious unity and remember what Easter is all about.
The Holy & the Heartfelt | San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Another notable event honoring the sacrosanct weekend is held in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and known as the “Celebration of the Seven Words.” This symbolizes the seven times Jesus spoke to his disciples before dying on the cross. After the mass and Adoration of the Cross, the island’s Catholics carry out the Santo Entierro (Holy Procession) whereby a casket – meant to symbolize Jesus’ body – is carried by men while the statue of the Virgin Mary is carried by the women. The procession makes its way through the main streets of San Pedro and is perhaps one of the few times the party island is at its most solemn.
After Good Friday – which is a dry day for all of Belize – locals celebrate Holy Saturday with various Easter-y activities, such as the cycling race or beach parties. Feel free to read more on Easter activities in Belize.
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