Since being formally enshrined in law by Abraham Lincoln as a national holiday, Thanksgiving has risen in prominence to become one of the most important American holidays. Dedicated to the spirit of gratitude that was expressed by Puritan settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony more than 400 years ago for being spared the agony of starvation at the onset of winter thanks to the generosity of local natives, Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather together to share lots of good food and autumn cheer.
Although Thanksgiving is strictly an American affair, more and more people from the United States are learning just how surprisingly wonderful it is to celebrate this important holiday in Belize. As more and more expats from North America have retired or moved to Belize, they brought their traditions of Thanksgiving with them, giving rise to a nationwide celebration of this feast of Thanksgiving throughout Belize.
One of the most iconic aspects of any Thanksgiving meal is the turkey, a native bird from Central America that formed an important part of the diet of the ancient Maya who raised and feasted on turkeys for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. Other dishes popular in Belize that visitors will be familiar with include corn or maize, a staple crop for the Maya as well, and one that is still very popular in the region. If you’re feeling adventurous, spice up your Thanksgiving meal with some Belizean classics like hudut (fish cooked in coconut broth), gibnut meat (a kind of large rodent), finished off with a delicious seaweed shake.
What To Do in Belize on Thanksgiving
After you’ve dined on a fabulous Thanksgiving meal, work off some of those calories with a trip to explore ancient Maya ruins, a stroll through the colorful San Ignacio Market, a canoe trip down the pristine Macal River, a hike through the jungle to go bird watching, a tour of the Belize Zoo and Educational Center, or head out to the beach to relax, snorkel, or scuba dive.
Thanksgiving might fall during some of the colder months in the United States, but the weather in November in Belize is truly idyllic. Expect lots of warm sunshine, fresh breezes, and weather that’s ideal for either swimming or enjoying fun activities on land like exploring the ATM cave or heading across the border into Guatemala to marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal.