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Pan America Day

Pan America Day 2019 and 2020

Pan America Day is observed in Belize in place of the old Columbus Day holiday. The holiday is held on 12 October and should not be confused with Pan American Day, which celebrated the founding of what is now the Organisation of American States on 14 April.

YearDateDayHoliday
201914 OctMonPan America Day
202012 OctMonPan America Day

In Belize, the day is no longer focused upon Christopher Columbus, although he is not completely lost sight of. Instead, the focus is on the massive migration of Hispanics out of the Mexican Yucatan region into Belize that took place in the mid-1800s. This influx brought with it huge cultural changes that made Belize what it is today.

Officially, the date is related to the voyage of Columbus to the New World in 1492. The explorations of Columbus and those who followed him certainly led to world-changing events and processes, as Europeans, Amerindians, and Africans all collided in the aftermath.

Many in Belize see the oppression and exploitation perpetrated by the Spanish conquerors and don’t feel like celebrating their arrival. Others, however, are willing to recognise the good that came out of it, while not necessarily denying the evil. Either way, Belize celebrates Pan America Day in a way that recognises the contributions of all cultures, not just the Spanish or the European.

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