While many countries had to fight for their independence through wars, Costa Rica and other Central American countries were simply able to declare independence. This was mainly because of the success of the Mexican campaign for independence, which was resolved in the first part of 1821. The Captain-General who administered Guatemala for the Spanish crown, Gabino Gainza called for a meeting of the leading citizens and they produced a declaration of independence on September 15th, 1821.
Independence Day is one is the most patriotic holidays in Costa Rica and it is celebrated with joy and excitement in every part of the country.
The celebrations begin on September 14th, as people turn to the streets carrying homemade lanterns call “faroles,” which are lit by candles At 6pm citizens get together to sing the national anthem and then they walk through the streets of the town, usually accompanied by music. This parade commemorates Dolores Bedoya, who traveled the streets of the city of Guatemala on the night of September 14th 1821, holding a lantern and urging people to support independence.
In many schools and high schools, participating in the popular “faroles” parade is mandatory, for both teachers and students. Many towns also host a farol contest in which they award the person with the most creative and original farol.
The celebration continues later at night, as people await the arrival of the “Liberty Flame,” a torch that is carried by people running from town to town, through out the entire country.
The following day, on September 15, another parade takes place, but this time during the day. Elementary and high school students from public and private institutions put on their uniforms and parade together. Students usually begin preparing for the parade several months in advance. The activity usually begins around 8 or 9 in the morning, and ends around noon, or until all the participants have finished the route.
People sit on the sidewalks to enjoy the parades in a peaceful and friendly environment.
Still, Transit Police and the Police Force normally guard the streets to ensure a safe and healthy environment for both students participating in the parades, as well as families, friends, and spectators in general.
Although Independence Day parades were celebrated in almost every town in the country, this year, unfortunately, all activities were cancelled in Guanacaste, as the region still remains on alert for a possible earthquake.
Giving the circumstances, authorities believed it was best not to have large groups of people gathered in a single location, as it could put people at risk if another seismic event occurred.
However, the rest of the country was able to proudly celebrate another year of being independent.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica