Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2021. 7:25 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The twelfth day of October, as acknowledged by Minister responsible for Holidays Kareem Musa, goes by many names, especially in our part of the world.
Variously known as Columbus Day, Pan American Day, Dia de la Raza, and others, it was not celebrated this year but returns to the calendar next year.
But what to call it? It will not be any of the above, but as we reported earlier, an entirely new name – Indigenous People’s Resistance Day.
Here is how Musa explained the change in name: “All of Cabinet, unanimously, agreed that the proper name for October twelfth should be Indigenous People’s Resistance Day, to acknowledge, to recognize the survival, the struggle, and the resistance of indigenous people in Belize, in particular the Mayas.”
As for the erroneous naming, Musa said he missed the Cabinet meeting where the selection of holidays was approved and the Dia de la Raza name was appended, and the one subsequently sent out to official printers of calendars and the like.
For Mestizo Cabinet colleagues such as Agriculture Minister Jose Mai, who had approved of the Dia de la Raza name, Musa acknowledged that it represents that “we belong to a country, we all live in this country that is diverse, that is multicultural, and we all appreciate one another’s culture. Coming from him – he is a Mestizo himself – that is how he would celebrate it.”
Left off the calendar for good is May 24, known as Sovereign’s or Commonwealth Day. It was established in honor of Queen Victoria but later came to be recognized as part of our ties with the United Kingdom. According to Musa, Belize is one of the few countries still marking that day – even the U.K. observes Commonwealth Day in March, while the Queen’s Birthday is usually observed on the first Saturday in June.
There is now a formal committee in place advising on the establishment of holidays under the Holidays Act. The holiday schedule for the remainder of this year includes Garifuna Settlement Day on Friday, Christmas on Saturday, December 25, and Boxing Day on Monday, December 27 in lieu of Sunday, December 26.
New Year’s Day follows on January 1, then George Price Day on January 15; National Heroes and Benefactors’ Day on March 9, the Easter weekend from April 15 – 18; Labour Day on May 1; Emancipation Day on August 1; St. George’s Caye Day on September 10 and Independence Day on September 21; followed by Indigenous People’s Resistance Day, Garifuna Settlement Day and Christmas and Boxing Day.
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