October: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance Day

Formally known as Columbus Day, then Pan-American Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance Day in Belize honours, recognises and celebrates the indigenous cultural groups from the Yucatan and Belize, creating the country we know today.

A controversial holiday, Columbus Day traditionally commemorated the landing of Christopher Columbus in the “New World” on October 12, 1492. As it awakened Europeans to this part of the world,  his discovery ultimately lead to the exploitation, persecution and destruction of many local civilisations.

Belize chooses not to celebrate the achievements of Columbus, but rather the forging of its rich cultural diversity and the honouring of the native groups of the Americas who resisted European colonial conquests. The Mestizos and Yucatec Maya came to Belize looking for a calm and peaceful land, free from conflict where they could settle.

Nowadays, with Garifuna, Indian, Mennonites, Lebanese, Chinese and more adding to the melting pot, the celebrations are testament to how much Belize appreciates and respects all of its cultures.