September 15th is Guatemala’s Independence Day and we celebrate big in our house. This year, we celebrated 201 years of freedom. The children get to learn about history, play fun games, cook for each other, and participate in a local tradition involving fire! Read along to find out more.
Murals, history, and a rally
The day’s first few activities involved learning about Guatemala’s Independence history and creating murals about Guatemala’s national symbols. The children were divided into groups and made handcrafts to represent each of these symbols:
• Ceiba, the national tree grows up to 70 meters high (about 229 feet)
• Monja Blanca, a beautiful white orchid typically found in Coban is the national flower
• Our blue and white flag with the coat of arms, the children learned about the meaning of this symbol. We also had a big flag on our front door.
• And our national bird, the Quetzal, has glamourous emerald feathers and a red chest. Its chest is said to be red because it stood on Tecun Uman’s wounded chest after losing a battle to Spanish conquistadores.
We also had a very fun rally with activities for the children to discover and learn.
Chicken salad and lemonade
Ulices, Alejandra, Merari, Marta, and Monica prepared a delicious snack for our Independence Day celebrations. They made chicken salad sandwiches and lemonade from scratch, under Teacher Magda’s supervision. Although it took them several hours to make, we were very proud of the final result.
The lemonade was a bit sour at first but it was all for the best because we had more pitchers to share after adding more water!
Running with the torch
For our big finish, we decided to do a run around the neighborhood with a lit torch.
This is one of Guatemala’s Independence Day traditions. All over the country, people of all ages run large distances with a lit torch to commemorate the messengers who originally disseminated the news of independence throughout Central America. In fact, the annual Antorcha de la Independencia relay continues between Guatemala City and Cartago, Costa Rica to this day.
We had a torch of our own and were very cautious about it.
All the homeschooled kids got to run, some faster than others, especially those who run with Doc every week. Even Efrain joined on the run in his stroller. The younger ones also had fun, toddling behind.
Our culture and our history
Learning about our culture and history is important so we are aware of the sacrifices many made for the freedom and rights we now enjoy. We strive to teach the children to be mindful of these privileges, to remember where our country is coming from, and to make a positive impact every chance they get.
Feliz dia de la Independencia!