Costa Rica Independence Day, Pass the Torch

The Costa Rica Independence Day is celebrated on September 15th every year with parades, flags everywhere, and activities in all the schools around the country.  On September 15th, 1821 the Central American countries were given independence from Spain and this day is celebrated throughout the region.  The most popular celebration that everyone looks forward to is the “faroles” or homemade torches representing the light of freedom.

Each child brings a homemade torch and at 6pm on the eve before Independence Day they light their individual torches and take to the streets singing the national anthem and songs of independence.  It is a fun sight to see and we have gone the last few years to our niece and nephew’s parade, but this year our daughter is in pre-school and we are looking forward to seeing her school’s activities.  I have always thought this was not the best idea to give a bunch of kids a torch made of plastic, wood, and paper with a candle in the middle and let them parade around, but fortunately I have not heard of any accidents and all the years I have lived here.  It is fun activity for all and a sight to see these torches parading through the local streets.  The torches of Independence Day represent the spreading news of freedom throughout Central America (which took a month to reach Costa Rica in 1821), and there is even an annual torch that is carried town to town from Guatemala to Costa Rica.

On Independence Day the school kids gather to sing the national anthem and parade in the streets in their uniforms waving the blue, white, and red flags.  Then much like the U.S. Independence Day, families gather for some home cooked meals or BBQs and enjoy their time together.  I personally am looking forward to our daughter’s first Independence Day activities and performances.  We got her “farole” ready, but I may walk along side with a fire extinguisher just in case.

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