Why is Pan American Day a Holiday in Belize?
Despite it being a 3-day holiday weekend in Belize (Public & Bank Holiday), there is more to the observance of Pan American Day than we know. Formerly dubbed Columbus Day, for the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the new world on October 12th, 1492, Pan American Day is an annual celebration of the melting pot of cultures that make up the Belize we know today. This significant date in history marks and celebrates the multi-cultural groups that exists such as the Mestizo, Yucatec Maya, Lebanese, Chinese, Indians, Mennonites, Garifuna, among others. This rich cultural diversity has catapulted Belize’s status as a friendly, little nation off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
A brief history on Columbus Day
Columbus Day commemorates the voyage taken by the Italian Voyager, Christopher Columbus about 500 years ago on behalf of Spain. Columbus made four voyages to the “New World” in 1492 to San Salvador Island, Cuba and Haiti; in 1493-96 to Guadaloupe, Montserrat, Antigua, Puerto Rico and Jamaica; in 1498 to Trinidad and the mainland of South America and in 1502-04 to Honduras and Nicaragua. The discovery of the “New World” allowed European countries like Portugal, Spain, France and Britain to have empires around the world. These nations expanded their political control, their economic systems and their cultural influences in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas and eventually world-leading countries such as Mexico, Canada and the United States.
“The discovery of these worlds created a great clash of cultures in history, as people of various European and African nations came in contact and conflict with indigenous tribes and nations. These conflicts occurred in what was conceived to be the great continents of opportunity. As far as Belize is concerned, Pan American Day celebrates the great migration of Mestizos and Indians (Hispanics) from Yucatan, Mexico into Belize in the mid 1800’s. The people were fleeing an area torn with war and looking for a peaceful land where they could live in harmony. They came to settle and raised communities in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. They populated the northern areas of Belize but gradually extended their influences countrywide. Their primary input has been the Roman Catholic Religion, the Spanish language, the sugar industry and food.” – (referenced from source: mybelize.net). History has it that Christopher Columbus’ exploration voyages included the use of his three main ships; The Santa María, La Nina and La Pinta.
Celebrating the people that make up Belize
In honor of this 3-day weekend, Pier 366 Seafood House will be offering marvelous deals on food and drink specials all weekend long including themed celebrations such as Sangria Sunday and Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday. Find bar/restaurant schedule below.