National Heroes And Benefactors Day

National Heroes and Benefactors Day is a public and bank holiday observed annually in March in Belize. This holiday falls on the second Monday of March and is dedicated to Baron Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss—a benefactor who bequeathed two million Belize dollars to a trust fund for the benefit of the citizens of Belize.

Bliss passed away on March 9, 1926, and a lighthouse was constructed in his memory. Following his death, Belize declared March 9 to be National Heroes and Benefactors Day, although the day is actually observed on the Monday closest to this date.

The History of National Heroes and Benefactors Day

Baron Bliss was born in Buckinghamshire, England, in 1869. At 42, he became paralyzed from the waist down due to polio. Having become wealthy through various inheritances, he retired and sailed to the Caribbean.

He spent considerable time in the Bahamas and Trinidad before settling in British Honduras, where he would live out his days on a yacht.

In 1926, upon learning he had a terminal illness, he amended his will to leave his fortune to British Honduras. He died on March 9, 1926, and following his interment, a lighthouse was erected in his honor.

The funds he left to British Honduras have been used over the years to benefit its citizens by funding a variety of projects. Shortly after his death, Baron Bliss Day was established—a holiday that was later renamed National Heroes and Benefactors Day. British Honduras would subsequently be renamed Belize.

Observing National Heroes and Benefactors Day

A key event of this holiday is an annual harbor regatta featuring various sailboat races. Bliss’s will included a provision for funds to be allocated each year to maintain this tradition, and it has continued ever since. Since the holiday always falls on a Monday, Belizeans enjoy a three-day weekend each year.

Where is it celebrated?
Belize (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
March 11 Monday
Next year (2025)
March 10 Monday
Last year (2023)
March 6 Monday