Hello Sirenian Bay friends!
Happy September, all!
Here at Sirenian Bay we’re getting ready to celebrate the Battle of St George’s Caye Day – a nationwide public holiday.
Not familiar with the battle in question? Let’s take a closer look to get you up to speed on this important day in Belizean history.
The Battle of St George’s Caye took place in 1798 between September 3-10. The battling parties were the Spanish Navy and the British settlers, with the former undertaking a last-ditch effort to dislodge the British. The small contingent of steadfast British loggers dug in and relied on stealth and strategy to defeat the Spanish naval fleet in the water.
It wasn’t the first time that the Spanish had attacked: they’d burned the Caye several times over the years prior to this fateful battle. But having been given some prior warning, the British settlers were able to build stockades and train each other in military tactics. They were also bolstered by the support of a small naval detachment from the British governor of Jamaica. The resulting victory is a major reason behind Belize being the only country in Central America to have English as its official language.
So how do we celebrate this special day?
Well, for starters, we celebrate it for more than a day! In fact, many of us party or kick back on vacation all the way through to the 21st of September, which is the nation’s official Independence Day. During this patriotic time, travellers return home to be with their family, and we all get together to celebrate our heritage.
Just about every town arranges parades, festivals, games and more. You’ll see tug of wars, bicycle races, fishing tournaments and the usual feasts of fresh-caught seafood and local desserts. St George’s Caye itself becomes home to that much-beloved British tradition: a regatta. If you fancy yourself a boating enthusiast, this is most definitely the place to be!
As the site of the battle, the Caye offers plenty more by way of celebrations. A Remembrance Ceremony is held at the local cemetery, followed by festivities at the local Sand Bar. Locals also decorate their homes during this time, so take some time to browse around and pick your favorite look!
But what about our beloved Placencia? There’ll be plenty to celebrate here as well. We have a parade and “Queen” crowning ceremony planned, along with the usual food, games and festivities. There’ll also be a major fishing and boating tournament, so come ready to make a splash!
Well, that’s all from me for now! Stay tuned for our next dispatch, when we’ll take a closer look at Belize’s Independence Day!
This is Hugh Manatee signing off for now – stay tuna-ed for the next installment from the Resort!