On September 15th, 2020, Costa Rica celebrated 199 years of independence. How did it gain independence? How is this day celebrated in Costa Rica? What are the traditions?
History of the Independence Day
Credit : francelarodriguesrodriguez
It’s Independence Day! On September 15th, 1821, Costa Rica became independent, as did Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The truth is that Costa Ricans only knew about it a month after the other countries. Actually, the Act of Independence was signed on October 29th to be implemented on 1 November. The independence of Costa Rica dates, in fact, from November 1st, 1821... But it’s only details. ;-)
Costa Rica was, for some time, part of the Mexican empire of Augustín Iturbide and then of the United States of Central America (between 1823 and 1839). It was in 1838 that Costa Rica decided to officially withdraw and assert its sovereignty.
The Torch Symbol of September 14th
The festivities begin on September 14th at 6:00pm. The Torch of Freedom is carried from Nicaragua to Costa Rica by students (Like the Olympic Games Torch). When it arrives in Costa Rica, High school students carry the torch and, traditionally, a child takes it to the final line in Carthage. At this exact moment, the entire country stops all activities and the people of Costa Rica sing the national anthem. A beautiful image of patriotism and pride of an entire nation. This tradition started in 1948 and it is in 1953 that the General Director of the Education, Manuel Urena decides that this relay will be held every year, on September 14 at 6pm.
Children old enough to parade, walk the streets with lanterns that they made themselves and decorated with the colors of Costa Rica.
Upon arrival at San Jose Airport, you will see the statue of Juan Santamaría, the national hero of Costa Rica who defended his country against the mercenary Walker in the 1850s. The statue depicts him holding a torch, with which he would have burned an inn that would have saved the city of Rivas in Nicaragua. That’s where he would have died, like a hero.
September 15th Ceremonies
Credit : @lavidainlife
September 15th is a highly prepared day with festivities taking place throughout the country. You will be waken up early by the sounds of firecrackers and by the national anthem sung to kill head. Once again, it is a tradition to see high school students and pupils to parade in the streets of every city in the country. The colours of Costa Rica are omnipresent: Blue, white, red!
Cheerleaders who dance to the rhythms of bands, paraded ox carts and folk groups share the streets in a light and festive atmosphere. It is now very clear that this holiday and non-working day is very important and widely celebrated throughout the country.
9 versions existed before the current flag of Costa Rica was adopted on November 27, 1906. The French flag actually inspired it, at least for the choice of colours. In contrast, the meaning of blue, white and red is very different between the two countries. On the Costa Rican flag, blue represents perseverance and loyalty, white represents wisdom and wealth and red is the symbol of love and country.
The Philosophy of Enlightenment in France and the French Revolution greatly inspired Costa Rica and other Central American countries for their own independence. Indeed, it is possible to draw many parallels between the post-independence ideologies of Costa Rica in 1821 and those of the Enlightenment century.
Costa Rica is a famous country for its excursions and its biodiversity, but it is also a place full of history, culture and traditions that make up the people so friendly:"Los Ticos". All you have to do is rent a car to explore this fabulous country.