If you decide to study Spanish online out of Costa Rica, not only will you learn the language but you will also open the doors to a rich experience in terms of culture and traditions. September is celebrated as the birth of Costa Rica, and this year the country is turning 199! September 15th is Independence Day not only for Costa Rica, but also for neighboring Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
The 15th is traditionally commemorated with cheerful parades. Since the country has no army, replacing military marches are young, uniformed students who take to the streets with drums and lyres. Marching school bands involve both elementary and secondary students who play popular songs, carry out cheer routines, and perform folk dances to the beat of drum rolls. These are the result of many months of rehearsals seeking to share the best celebration with spectators all over the country, from the high mountains to the lowlands and coasts, enjoying the parades in a peaceful, friendly and family oriented environment.
On September 15th, a freedom torch that initiated travels from Guatemala City and takes a few days before finally reaching Cartago, Costa Rica’s colonial capital, is carried along its entire journey by students passing the "antorcha" from hand-to-hand while running ceaselessly along the Central American roads. It was in Cartago that in 1821 the Act of Independence arrived from Guatemala, proclaiming the separation from the Spanish Empire of what is now Central America, this without spilling a single drop of blood.
Festivities begin in the evening of September 14th; but starting even earlier, schools all over the country, public institutions, and even offices, and homes are richly decorated with patriotic motifs in white, blue and red, the colors of Costa Rica’s flag. At precisely 6:00 p.m., Costa Ricans stop to sing the national anthem with pride and patriotism. Then, children, parents, and teachers gather to reenact the notification of Costa Rica’s delcaration of freedom, carrying creative, homemade, multicolor lanterns with candles.
A fun fact about Costa Rica’s independence is that even though September 15th is the official date, because of its remoteness to Guatemala and the lack of communication technologies at the time, Costa Ricans did not find out until October 13th, when the news finally arrived from Guatemala. Under the Spanish Empire, Costa Rica was the farthest southern province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala which, in turn, belonged to the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico). It was on October 29th, 1821 in a caucus celebrated in Cartago when Costa Ricans finally drafted their own proclamation of independence.
Because of the pandemic, celebrations will be different this 2020. There will be no street parades, no school assemblies, and no public speeches by community leaders. However, patriotism will certainly prevail at home and on social media, hoping that events will soon change for the better and that in September 2021 the parades can return to our neighborhoods and streets for the country’s 200th birthday and you, also, have the opportunity to join us in our festivities -- all while practicing Spanish!
For more tips to learn Spanish online and why Costa Rica, please follow our blog The Pura Vida Experience. We also invite you to explore the CPI Live Virtual Campus by signing up for our free DEMO so you can see the format used by our experienced native Spanish professors to assist you in enhancing your Spanish skills. The CPI language school in Costa Rica is also a Cervantes accredited Spanish institute. For more information, visit https://www.cpi-edu.com/