The date of September 15 marks Costa Rica Independence Day.
Well – it actually marks Central America’s independence from Spain, rather than Costa Rica’s specific birthday. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala also celebrate their independence on September 15. It’s these five countries that made up the Federal Republic of Central America that went it alone in 1821.
It was in 1838 that Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica seceded from the Federal Republic of Central America. Two years later, once Guatemala left, the Federal Republic collapsed.
But in an ironic twist of fate, the date of secession and true national independence is not celebrated in any of the Central American countries.
Indeed, people have no idea when the exact date was that the Central American countries declared independence from the Federal Republic. For example, in Nicaragua, some say that it was on November 5, 1838, that they left. Others insist that Nicaragua actually left on April 30 of that year.
All very confusing.
What isn’t confusing is that throughout Central America, on September 15 each year, people celebrate. Every city, town, and village does something. Parades of school kids, feasts, and street parties are the norm.
In Costa Rica, schoolchildren prepare for months for the parade. They practice their drumming and their moves that they plan to show off. The town of Escazu, outside of San Jose, Costa Rica, is no exception.
When the big day arrives, lots of people pack the streets. Proud parents gather to watch their children represent their schools in the parade. Patriotic Costa Ricans dress in red, white, and blue to pay respect for the country that they love. The town is a sea of red, white, and blue.
We hope that these images reflect the feeling and the vibe of a typical Costa Rican town on Independence Day.
James Dyde is the editor of CentralAmerica.com. He loves Instagram and lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.