It is no secret that many of the traditions and beliefs in Belize are what make the renowned jewel so colorful. From internationally-acclaimed river races to grand art festivals, the cultural customs keep Belize, Belize. The San Jose Succotz Festival is yet another significant seam in the unorthodox tapestry that makes up this Caribbean country.
San Jose Succotz Fiesta in April
There is no shortage of festivals in Belize (what can we say? We like to party!) but the Succotz Festival takes on a deeper meaning as the village celebrates their patron saint, Joseph. The event takes place every April, combining cultural marimba music and traditional cuisines people have come to know and love. Located in the mountainous Cayo District, the village of San Jose Succotz is mostly known for hosting the eminent Maya site of Xunantunich. Cradled by the Mopan River, Succotz has been a Mayan community for many decades. This heritage is honored along with the patron saint during the festival.
The festival usually lasts for three days and a myriad of activities are carried out throughout this time.
- Musical performances
- Crowning of San Jose Succotz Fiesta Queen
- Cultural Dances
- Bicycle race
Apart from being a merry sight, these activities carry a lot of cultural weight for the village. For instance, the San Jose Succotz Queen serves as the village’s ambassador; the dances – like the Hog Head dance – represent traditions passed down through generations, and of course the food is authentically Succotz, like tamales and bollos.
Though the fiesta has been around since the 1920s, it has moved away from strictly religious motives to fundraising efforts. Originally held in March, the festival was moved to April to avoid it falling during Lent. That way the revelry can proceed without it infringing on the religious undertones of the month of March.
So if you’re planning a visit to the towering site of ‘El Castillo’ at Xunantunich, why not take advantage and arrange a trip in early April – you’ll get to see both the cultural past and present of the Maya people (not to mention indulge in mouth-watering grub!)
For more information on festivals in Belize, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us toll-free at: 1-800-6240686.