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Big-Time September 10

Today there are so many cultural, social and civic events that the town waits for eagerly like Costa Maya, Mother’s Day, Miss San Pedro Pageant, Lagoon/Reef Challenge, September Block Party, Food Festival & Lobster Fest, to mention just a few. However 25 five years ago, back in the 1950’s, there were very few events that aroused so much interest and I wish to recall them one by one- Sept. 10th., Cooperative Annual General Meeting, and Baron Bliss Day and that is about it.

It was the school children especially that awaited with excitement the arrival of the Tenth of September, quite unlike today when children have to be forced to join the parade. Was it fireworks, or a great international show that stirred up so much excitement?

Children knew that after the half hour parade, they would each receive one pint of pop or lemonade as it was labeled on the bottle. Water was the only liquid that accompanied a lunch in those days and a pint of lemonade was a truly great treat. If you took an empty pint at school you could take it home, or else you had to drink it right there. Whichever way, it was drunk warm, never chilled, but that did not matter. At 10 cents per pint, you can imagine the thrill and pleasure every child in school had as he walked home with his “lemonade”.

By the way at the end of the parade each child was also treated to a bag of party goodies including candies, biscuits, chewing gum, a tart and a BALLOON. The goodies were devoured in a short time, but children made sure the balloon lasted an eternity. When the balloon finally burst, it brought a sense of sadness. But another reason the tenth parade was a biggie was that each child got out his British flag which mom had hidden at the bottom of a suitcase for a year. Each child boasted his colorful flag and those with larger ones were considered heroes. The tenth of September parade was the most colorful parade ever in San Pedro.

So no wonder every child made sure he learned his patriotic song and was more than eager to join the parade and sing his heart out like this:

We are marching today
and proudly sing.
That we are celebrating
our day.
It was the tenth day of September
When history was made
O Belize our home
sweet home.

Hurrah, hurrah,
hip hip hurrah.
As we march and
cheer them today.
The Baymen did fight a noble, noble fight
‘Twas the battle of
Old St. George’s Caye.

On a point of interest, today children do march and jump up to the tune of Punta Rock or “Pasame la Tarralla” instead of patriotic songs. Incidentally, all this treat happened because twenty five years ago the government of Belize sent 25 cents per child to all the schools of Belize for the children’s delight.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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