Belize’s National Heroes and Benefactors Day is considered to be one of the biggest holidays in Belize. It is a national celebration in honor of Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, commonly known as Baron Bliss. The celebration was commonly referred to as Baron Bliss Day until 2008 and is observed on Monday closest to the 9th of March.
Baron Bliss’s Contribution to Belize
Victor Bliss willed two million Belize dollars to a trust fund, for the benefit of the citizens of the then-colony of British Honduras. To this day, that contribution has helped fund the arts and sciences. Most notably contributing to the establishment of the Bliss Institute, a theater and museum, and the Bliss School of Nursing.
A generous part of the trust has been designated towards an annual boat regatta in Belize City; every year Belize holds a boat race on Baron Bliss Day to celebrate his love of being at sea. Local boat races and parties are held in smaller towns.
The people of Belize celebrate and respect Baron Bliss so much because he exhibited his love and appreciation for the people of Belize and their kindness towards him. Once World War I was over, Bliss commissioned the construction of Sea King II- a yacht that Bliss had specifically built for tropical sea travel. Once she was finished, Bliss left England, and his wife, and never returned.
The years following were spent living off the coast of the Bahamas, and eventually, he settled down in Belize where he, unfortunately, fell gravely ill and passed away. Demonstrated in his charity in death, the people of Belize and the country itself are said to have given him a great sense of contentment in his last days- something that he had been searching for his whole life.