Parades, lantern ceremonies, traditional music and dancing will take place all over Costa Rica this weekend to mark the day that Costa Rica and four other Central American nations gained their independence from Spain.
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are all celebrating 193 years of independence from Spain on Sept. 15. On this day in 1821, a Central American congress signed “The Act of Independence” asserting they were free of the Spanish Empire.
Unlike other independence declarations in the Americas, the Central American states did not have to fight for their liberation. Spain actually supported Central American independence because the region had become a burden for the empire, which was exhausted from other wars.
Although Sept. 15 is the day when independence was declared, news of Costa Rica’s new freedom did not reach the territory until almost a month later on Oct. 13, because a messenger had to travel on horseback from Guatemala. Costa Rica finally became a completely independent state in 1838, when it separated from the Central American republic.
For the Mes de la Patria, or “Month of the Nation,” buildings, businesses and even cars are adorned with blue, white and red Costa Rican flags, streamers and decorations throughout September. Monday, Sept. 15, is a national holiday and businesses, banks and government institutions will be closed.
Liberia, the capital city of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, traditionally celebrates Independence Day with colorful events.
On Sunday, Sept. 14, the patriotic party begins at precisely 6:00 p.m. with the Costa Rica National Anthem broadcast nationally on TV and radio. Then comes the traditional nighttime lantern parade (Desfiles de Faroles) reenacting the “freedom torch” that notified Costa Rica of its freedom. Children carrying colorful homemade paper lanterns in the shape of little houses and other objects will parade with their families in town squares. There are usually also typical dances and fireworks.
Monday morning, Sept. 15, school bands and dancers in traditional costumes march through the town streets. Traditional foods are usually sold by street vendors. The celebrations are well-attended by families and are a lot of fun.
One of the best places to stay in Guanacaste near Liberia is Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. In the foothills of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, the adventure eco-tourism hotel is also a working horse and cattle ranch. Now in green season, you can enjoy great Costa Rica travel deals at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.
Article by Shannon Farley