La Dia de la Independencia – September 15th
None of us traveled this weekend. It was Costa Rica’s independence day. And one of us had a birthday.
Costa Rica gained its independence from Spain at the same time as Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the rest of Central America. The news was dispersed from Guatemala. It was several days later that anyone in Costa Rica knew of there new status. Because of this the 14th is also celebrated with the journey of the “Torch of Liberty”. The torch is run across the country like the Olympic torch. This part of the celebration also includes a parade of faroles, lanterns, that come in many designs from typical houses to wagons to forts to cars to lanterns.
On the morning of the 15th there are parades in every suburb and every city and every town in Costa Rica. And I do mean in the morning. At home parades start around 11 in my experience. Here they start at 8am, and are one of the few things in Costa Rica that happen on time.
I went to the parade in my “suburb”. The parade lasted about three hours and I now have an interesting sandal tan on my feet. For such a good length parade there was only one type of group marching, schools. At least ten schools marched in the parade. They all had the same components; school banner, outstanding students/student government, color guard, dance team/baton or ribbon twirlers, and often some other component as well.
The strangest part of a Costa Rican parade, parents march with each school, they hold a rope in a rectangle around all of the groups from each individual school. They also carry water for those who get dehydrated in the heat.
The central parks were all filled with food vendors. They sold typical food plus candied apples, churros, corn on the cob, cotton candy, ice cream and much more.
I got to celebrate two Independence days this year. Too bad there weren’t more fireworks.