Tomorrow is a very important day for all Guatemalans. 196 years ago, on 15 September 1821, Guatemala declared its independence from Spanish rule and became a sovereign nation.
Every year on 15 September Guatemala’s streets come alive with a lot of festivities to celebrate the country’s independence and the patriotism of a proud nation. Proud to be Guatemalan, proud to be Chapines!
On Independence Day everyone shows their joy, the honor of a nation and the love for their country in many activities all around Guatemala. Especially in Antigua the streets are full of people dancing, parades and marching bands showing patriotic fervor and passion.
Most Guatemalans take the day off and participate in the celebrations wearing blue and white clothes, the colors of Guatemala. Among the highlights are vibrant parades of members of the Guatemalan military, school children playing instruments, and marching bands with drums, cymbals and bass drums. Along the sidewalks, many vendors sell Guatemalan “fast food.”
One of the most popular activities is for groups of people to run from place to place carrying a torch. The torch represents freedom and honors the men and women who gave their lives fighting for a better Guatemala.
Even though it seems that the celebrations take only one day, the preparations for Guatemala’s Independence Day festivities begin well in advance. Schools rehearsing and marching bands practicing in the streets are a common sight weeks before the event. The excitement in the community grows day by day and reaches its climax on Independence Day.
After dark the sky lights up with fireworks — one of the most beautiful things you can witness.
Even if you are not Guatemalan, you are most welcome to take part in the Independence Day celebrations and share this amazing experience. Visit Guatemala in September and participate in the festivities of this unique culture!