Around the world, Easter is a time for families to come together, often taking a vacation and reveling in the sun – even if it’s just for a weekend. This year, Easter weekend begins on Friday, March 30th with Belize’s top tourism destinations already gearing up for fabulous beach parties, sporting events, and entertainment for all ages. Beyond the revelry, however, Easter is also a commemoration of La Semana Santa (Holy Week) for the religious communities in Belize.
From Sunday, March 25th to Saturday, March 31st, Christians across the country observe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through a weeklong series of Easter activities. The week begins with the Domingo Ramos (Palm Sunday Procession). Roman Catholic Churches in several municipalities re-enact Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Holy Monday’s Procesion del Silencio and Holy Tuesday’s Procesion de Encuentro reflects Christ’s teachings.
These events culminate on Good Friday morning, featuring the Live Passion Play as streets are transformed into the Via Dolorosa, with local actors dramatizing Christ’s trials, tribulations, and crucifixion.
Residents also create intricately designed sawdust tapestries on the streets in a show of gratitude for blessings received throughout the year. The late evening Procesion del Santo Entierro – Christ’s symbolic funeral procession – passes over these tapestries. While this event is held cross country, the largest show is held in Benque Viejo del Carmen Town in the Cayo District.
La Semana Santa concludes with Holy Saturday’s late-night Mass recalling Christ’s resurrection. During this time, one can relish in the typical dishes such as palmito, cox’an, bollitos de Chaya, empanadas de papas and other meat-free foods. Everyone is welcomed to participate in the Semana Santa celebrations in the local municipalities across Belize.
If you find yourself in Belize this Easter and are curious to participate in the country’s local traditions, know you are always welcome. Note that Good Friday is a Dry Day, and as such, no alcoholic beverages are to be served/sold from Thursday at midnight to Friday at midnight.