Celebrating the Costa Rican Independence Day

Every year, millions of people visit Costa Rica to enjoy the near perfect weather, the rainforest, the beaches and its people.  Some argue that best time for a tourist to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season where a rainfall will probably never occur.  Others believe that the rainy season is the best time because of its lower prices and allowing you to see a greener country.

Celebrating the Costa Rican Independence DayThe answer to this question is that both season offers many advantages and that there is no right answer.  However, if you do decide to come during the rainy season, then the week of September 15 should be your goal.  Why?  Because if you do, you get to celebrate the Costa Rica Independence day with the Ticos!

Independence Day in Costa Rica is celebrated every September 15. The celebration commemorates the independence of not only Costa Rica but also of the entire Central American region from Spain back in 1821.

An interesting side fact is that it took one month for the news to reach the region that is now Costa Rica and that Costa Rica did not become an actual country until 1838.

The actual celebration begins on the 14th of September where locals and tourists alike get to enjoy a type of reenactment of how the news of Costa Rica’s liberation reached the country.  This is done via the “Freedoms Torch” reenactment which begins on September 9 in Guatemala with the lighting of the torch.  From there, the torch travels by foot with different runners at different intervals passing through Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and finally Costa Rica.

Once the torch is in Costa Rica, it will pass through various towns until it reaches Cartago, which was the capital of Costa Rica at the time of independence.  Each town will have a welcoming committee of sort as the torch passes by and it is customary for children to have made “faroles” or lanterns (usually as part of a school project) and hold them up while they wait for the torch to pass them by.

Faroles to celebrate independence day in Costa RicaThe lanterns will vary in size and shape from simple houses to complex trains and cars that represent Costa Rica.  It is a great time to make arts and crafts in Costa Rica. In addition, many shopping malls, schools and clubs will hold contests for the best lantern.

Most of the children will be dressed in traditional Costa Rican outfits and once the torch has passed, each town will usually have an elected official make a speech to the crowd and the fireworks will then begin!

On the actual 15th of September which is the declared national holiday, most towns will have a parade and activities.  For example, someone who has real estate in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica would end up going to the town square early in the morning to get a good spot for the parade.

Just like anywhere else, you will find most children that are watching the parade sitting on the sidewalk while the adults are standing behind them.

The parade will vary based on the location but in most cases, it will include school bands marching with children wearing traditional dresses, dancing to the beat of drums while waving Costa Rican flags.  Thereafter, the day will be filled with traditional dances, food and activities for the whole family.

Most town squares will have street vendors that will offer traditional food such as arroz con pollo (rice and chicken), tamales,  fried yucca,  black beans and rice, fried plantains, rice pudding, coconut flan, and tres leches (three milk cake.) A friend of mine who has a house in Escazu, Costa Rica told me that in addition to street vendors they always have an array fair rides and games and people just having a good time.

If you decided to come to Costa Rica now or later in the future,then September is a great choice as it will allow you to celebrate one of the many national holidays in Costa Rica.  And just like any other independence day, Independence Day for Costa Ricans is a day filled with a feeling of patriotism, freedom and remembrance an important day in their country’s history

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