Costa Rica will celebrate the 189th anniversary of its independence this Wednesday.
On Sept. 15, 1821, Costa Rica, along with the rest of Central America (minus British Honduras, or modern-day Belize), declared its independence from Spain. Following a series of relatively mild rebellions from 1811 to 1814, a council of leaders in Guatemala drafted and signed Central America’s official declaration of independence. Word of the region’s newfound freedom reached Costa Rica nearly a month later on Oct. 13.
Although in later years Costa Rica became part of, and subsequently declared independence from, both the Mexican Empire and the Federal Republic of Central America, Ticos celebrate Sept. 15 as their true Independence Day.
Official celebrations will begin Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. as proud Costa Ricans gather together to sing the national anthem and light traditional candle lanterns. In Cartago, the country’s original capital, east of San José, President Laura Chinchilla will receive a torch carried all the way from Guatemala as a symbol of the spreading of the good news of independence throughout Central America.
Wednesday morning will be marked by marching bands and children in school uniforms and traditional dress parading through the streets of every major city, carrying flags and singing patriotic songs.
The U.S. Embassy, government offices and most businesses will be closed for the holiday, and some roads will be closed in major cities to accommodate the parades.