Carnival Fever in Belize
With just days to go before the official start of carnival in Belize on Saturday, September 11th, a festive Carnival Fever is in the air. The annual carnival takes place in Belize and commemorates the Battle of St. George's Caye and the English Baymen settling the land in Belize. Carnival has since evolved into a large-scale celebration of indulgences to include music, food, alcohol and flesh and is most certainly a spectacle of fun, color, music and excitement that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
All the carnival revelers and carnival groups with their dancers in festive Caribbean costumes are perfecting their moves to the beat of rhythmic Caribbean music. For months most groups have been preparing colorful festive costumes and floats and most recently building themselves into a carnival frenzy with mas camps that are performed not only for judging but the get the groups into a pre-carnival celebratory spirit. The carnival and pre-carnival celebrations in Belize normally draws crowds of locals and tourists of all ages and walks of life to the streets to listen to the festive beats and to look at the carnival dancers move their bodies on pure Belizean energy.
History of Carnival Groups in Belize
The birth of the Carnival Groups in Belize came to be when five thoughtful women in 1975 got together on a Sunday afternoon as they normally would. Ms. Crystal, Ms. June, Ms. Alice, Ms. Maude and Ms. Myrtle.
Later knows as the Belize Women for Cultural Preservation, the five mothers from Sixth Street in the King's Park area of Belize City never realized that this particular afternoon would however change the carnival in Belize as their discussions turned to a topic of discussion on how to spice up the Tenth of September Celebrations. After their discussions that afternoon they left with the excitement of an idea that was still turning around in their minds. None of them ever envisioned that the acronym formed from their names, C-JAMM, would one day be a household September word in Belize. They then explained and convinced their children with the idea and they in turn brought neighborhood friends. That September the costumed group danced through the main streets of Belize City. The concept created such an impression that for the next 25 years, the "Sixth Street Masqueraders", as they were dubbed, saw more neighborhoods forming bands, creating costumes and floats to join in the Carnival parade.
On carnival day eager spectators stop and peer down the street, looking for any sign that the carnival parade is about to begin which is usually led by the Police vehicle. As soon as everyone sees the police vehicle the news that its about to come is shared with excitement as it ripples down the line or spectators. At this time the thought in the back of everyone's mind, are the words: "Let the partying begin!"
Anyone lucky enough to visit Belize at Carnival time can expect to enjoy the greatest party of their life.
Here are a few photos from the Mas Camp Pre-Carnival Festivities: