Costa Rican Independence Day is the 15th of September but each year the marina hosts a local school to share their celebration on site a few days before the town event. It was a good preview for us of what’s to come and we had ringside seats at the bar above the grand staircase that functions as an amphitheater overlooking the marina.
Our waitress answered our questions about what was happening, which cleared up a few mysteries, like what are all the songs they sang, standing, and with great reverence. Of course one was the national anthem, but there were more. They were traditional patriotic songs and they were mostly of the same late 19th century vintage that most national anthems seem to be.
The program consisted of various readings and poems and some dance numbers by groups of students in traditional costume. One routine seemed to involve a sacred athletic shoe, but I’m sure we misunderstood.
The climax of the evening was a parade of lights, as the students followed the band along the malecon holding their elaborate and charming homemade lanterns symbolizing the torch carried by Maria Dolores Bedoya, who walked through the streets of Guatemala on the night of September 14th, 1821, inviting people to meet at the plaza opposite to the town hall where the provincial councils of Guatemala gathered. The crowd persuaded the council to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Throughout the country there will be a lantern parade starting at 6pm on Sunday. We look forward to it!