Independence Day is an annual holiday celebrated in countries around the world commemorating the anniversary of the nation's independence. Each country has it's own reason to celebrate and many are celebrated similarly under other names such as National Day, Foundation Day, Statehood Day or name the day for their country.
On September 15th every year, Guatemala celebrates its Independence Day. Several of Guatemala’s neighboring countries also celebrate their independence on this day as well.
History of Guatemala’s Independence Day
In 1519, Spaniards came to the Americas and conquered the area. For almost three hundred years, the Spanish ruled over much of what is now Central and South America. In 1821, however, many of the elites in Central America banded together and finally freed the region from Spanish rule on September 15th. The other countries that celebrate this day with Guatemala include Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.
How Guatemala’s Independence Day is Celebrated
This holiday is celebrated immensely within Guatemala. Numerous parades and performances occur throughout the country. Marimbas, a popular instrument in Guatemalan culture are played by musicians in the streets. Vendors set up shops to sell food and toys to both locals and tourists. At night, numerous fireworks go off to light up the sky.
The “Antorcha de la Independencia” Tradition
On September 14th, 1821, María Dolores Bedoya ran through multiple cities within Guatemala carrying a lantern. This lantern symbolized the hope that the Guatemalan people had for their country’s soon-to-be liberation from the rule of the Spaniards. To commemorate this event, every year Guatemalan runners carry a torch as they run through the many cities of Guatemala. This commemoration is known as the “Antorcha de la Independencia”, or the “Torch of Independence”.