Posted on May 24, 2018
This holiday goes back to Queen Victoria's birthday (see link below) and her position as the head of Great Britain. Actually, in Victoria's time, all the lands and nations and territories associated with Britain - lands spread all over the world, everywhere from Africa and Asia to the Americas and the South Pacific - made up the British Empire. And Queen Victoria's birthday was called Empire Day.
The British Commonwealth of Nations is what is left of the former British Empire. Great Britain is supposedly just one of 53 Commonwealth members. All the members are independent, self-governing nations.
And one of the Commonwealth nations is Belize.
Celebrating this holiday includes horse races, a cycle race, and flag raising ceremonies.
Being part of the British Commonwealth, and being the former British Honduras, the official language is English. But there are several recognized languages, including Belizean Creole, Garifuna, Mayan languages, and Spanish. More than half of the population speaks two or more languages.
Belize is known for Mayan temple ruins, the Great Blue Hole ocean sinkhole, and wonderful coral reefs:
One of the largest Mayan cities in all of Central America is Xunatunich. The center of the ancient city is more than one square mile and includes six plazas. There are 26 palaces and temples!!
The Great Blue Hole was considered one of the top five scuba diving spots in the world by famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. The area once formed on dry land, a cave with stalactites and stalagmites, formed by eroded limestone (karst). Eventually the sea level began to rise, and the cave system was flooded by ocean waters.
The sinkhole is between 124 and 125 meters (407 - 410 feet) at its deepest point.
The Belize Barrier Reef is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System - the third largest coral reef system in the world!
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