Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day in Belize in 2022

Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day in Belize in 2022
Queen Victoria with the flag of the Commonwealth behind.

  How long until Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day?
There are no upcoming dates for this event
  Dates of Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day in Belize
2021 Belize Mon, May 24 Public and Bank Holiday
2020 Belize Mon, May 25 Public and Bank Holiday (in lieu)
2019 Belize Mon, May 27 Public and Bank Holiday (in lieu)
2018 Belize Mon, May 21 Public and Bank Holiday (in lieu)
2017 Belize Mon, May 22 Public and Bank Holiday (in lieu)
  Summary

Originally known as Empire Day, this holiday marked Queen Victoria's birthday

When is Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day?

Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day was a public and bank holiday in Belize on May 24th. If May 24th falls on a Sunday, a public holiday was observed on the following Monday.

The 2021 list of public and bank holidays for Belize has omitted Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day, and included Emancipation Day and El Día de la Raza, which makes it likely that Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day will no longer be observed.

This holiday celebrated two aspects that highlight Belize's colonial history - the birthday of Queen Victoria and the Commonwealth of Nations.

History of Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day

After Queen Victoria died in 1901, a public holiday was declared across the British Empire on May 24th. This is the birth anniversary of the great sovereign who ruled the British Empire for 63 years.

In the late 1950s, as the British Empire was shrinking, British prime minister Harold MacMillan announced that Empire Day would be changed to Commonwealth Day. In 1976, the date of the holiday was switched to the Second Monday in March.

Of the 54 members of the Commonwealth, Belize is the only country that still observes May 24th as the date for Commonwealth Day. Canada still observes a holiday for Victoria's birthday on the Monday on or after May 25th. 

The Removal of Sovereign's Day/Commonwealth Day

In November 2021, Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Ministries said: “Commonwealth Day is not as far as I’m aware celebrated in other countries as a holiday. Yes, you do recognize it but it’s not celebrated as a holiday. Belize might be one of the few or the last countries in the world to actually acknowledge that day Commonwealth Day as a holiday. Other countries have it as Labor Day but our Labor Day is celebrated on May 1st. So May 24th is no longer going to be a holiday, yes we can recognize it and all of that but it’s not going to be a holiday. Definitely, we have too many holidays I think the chamber would say we still have one too many and so they would want to see one removed so we might work on that for 2023.”

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