On Ode to October

CHAT Tourism - On Ode to October

If the first day in October is observed as International Coffee Day and the 31st of October is Halloween, what does that say about this month? It might say that October makes the start of the last quarter of each year very interesting. Not only is it officially autumn in many countries, which means “cute sweater” weather, but it also should mean that the Summer heat is finally cooling off and the elements are becoming more pleasant to travel. However, with climate change and the world possibly in a “global melting” phase, the weather might be a bit spookier than in years past. As we all continue to grapple with the new climate reality, October 31st is undoubtedly the most popular day in the month.  Many people take the month as an opportunity to highlight their unique traits and appreciation for all things mysterious and supernatural.  What might be a bit cryptic for some is that October used to be the 8th month on the Roman Calendar.  The name even derives from the Latin “Octo,” which means eight. Now at number ten, October offers many other interesting and noteworthy holidays to celebrate.

From the 1st to the 31st the 10th month is full of exceptional days and surprises.  Some other international events observed in October include: International Archaeology Day, World Vegetarian Day, World Habitat Day, World Animal Welfare Day, World Teacher’s Day, World Mental Health Day, Global Handwashing Day, World Egg Day, World Food Day, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (UNCRC), United Nation’s Day, and World Thrift Day. World Thrift Day falls on October 30th so it offers a good cause to shop for fun Halloween gimmicks and a bit of retail therapy.

In Belize, the Queen Conch Season officially opens on October 1st. Local fishermen, businesses, and Belizean consumers can all start enjoying having the yummy crustacean back on the market. Can anyone say conch soup and conch ceviche? October 12th is Indigenous People’s Resistance Day. Formerly celebrated as Columbus Day, the 12th is now observed as a day to recognize the unimaginable struggles and resistance of indigenous peoples in Belize, namely the Garifuna people and the Mopan, Kekchi, and Yucatec Maya, against the invasion, subjugation, and negative impacts of colonialism. There is also a solar eclipse celebration at three of our archaeological sites, a fishing tournament, and other activities across the country that make October scary good.

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) will host its annual National Tourism Awards in October. The event recognizes the excellence of its tourism partners by recognizing the tremendous services and efforts within the tourism industry. A few of the award categories include Hotel of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Frontline Person of the Year, Cultural Experience of the Year, and Minister’s Award. New categories are sometimes added to reflect changes and advancements in the sector. This year the Belize tourism industry and economy have sufficiently resurrected after the pandemic so the awards this October are expected to feel especially good.

Coffee can be enjoyed in Belize all year long but the fact that the International Coffee Organization selected October 1stto promote and celebrate the beverage is one of the many reasons October is so much fun. In Belize, there is no autumn but there is a conch season. There is probably not going to be “cute sweater weather” but t-shirts and shorts go better with seafood and beer anyway. Belizeans celebrate Halloween just as well as any other place so there will be spooky Halloween costumes, parties, candy, and even pumpkin spice lattes at the local café.

October was never an eight. It was always a 10 and thank goodness the calendar reflects that too.

Chat again later.

Jasmine Anderson

For the Belize Tourism Board