It’s that time of year when San Pedro’s island traditions come alive during the El Gran Carnaval. Painting, dance, and music fill the streets as we celebrate the five days before the Lenten Season.
Carnaval is one of the most joyful, fun, and entertaining festivals on Ambergris Caye, and this year, it kicks off on Saturday, February 10th, with a grand Street Festival at the San Pedro Central Park. The following three days, from Sunday, February 11th to Tuesday, February 13th, the front street (Barrier Reef Drive) will see an explosion of color with the traditional painting and comparsas. If you are new to El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro, prepare yourself to turn into a human canvas, as during this time, participants paint one another in colorful hues of water and powder paint.
Most entertaining is enjoying the vibrant performances by the comparsas (dance groups) who parade around town performing choreographed original dances and songs. I am eager to see what the Cholo’s Barbies have prepared this year! The Barbies, grown men dressed as women in heels, are always a hit! The last day of painting is always extra fun, with a DJ entertaining the crowd at Central Park.
The festival will end on Ash Wednesday, February 14th, with the traditional burning of Juan Carnaval. Culturally, the burning of Juan Carnaval signifies the cleansing of the community’s sins and is believed to protect the island from misfortune during Lent.
Easter in La Isla Bonita
It isn’t Easter in Belize without a good dose of sun, sand, and sea! The long holiday weekend starts on Holy Thursday, March 29th, and runs to Easter Monday, April 1st. Easter is Belize’s most extended public holiday, and everyone flocks to the many coastal communities to relax or party with family and friends.
Here in San Pedro Town, it is one of the busiest times, with visitors from mainland Belize and abroad looking for clear skies, white beaches, and cool waters. Beach parties, concerts, and other social events happen throughout the weekend; everyone is invited. If you want to dance your holidays away, San Pedro is the place to be!