By Alejandra Diaz –
Guatemala’s Independence Day observance doesn’t arrive until Sept. 15. However, many of our mission teams and financial supporters live in the United States. So at Dorie’s Promise, we feel a special kinship with Americans celebrating their independence this week.
We always enjoy the opportunity to wish our many partners in the United States a happy Fourth of July.
In Guatemala, we understand what a special day Tuesday, July 4, is for U.S. citizens. This year, they will celebrate the 241st anniversary of their Declaration of Independence from England.
The parallels between the States gaining their freedom and Guatemala breaking away from Spanish colonial rule are unmistakable. For nearly 300 years (1523-1821), Guatemalans faced the same kind of outside rule as the colonies that became the United States.
Like Americans, we too love to set off fireworks, wave our blue-and-white flags, and celebrate with singing, marching bands and belting out our national anthem.
It isn’t just Guatemala that commemorates Central America’s liberation from Spain. Our neighbors in Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua join with us in lively celebrations.
That includes a “running of the torch” relay that begins in Guatemala City and ends in Costa Rica’s former colonial capital, Cartago. This tradition attracts large crowds every year.
Ironically, your Fourth of July also comes just days after our Army Day (June 30), which we have celebrated for the last 136 years.
The day, which includes a parade in Guatemala City, is observed in remembrance of those who have served or lost their lives fighting with the Guatemalan armed forces.
While we don’t have any official celebrations at Dorie’s Promise this week, we love to mention the holiday to visiting missionaries in early July. We join our liberated hearts with yours as we say, “Happy birthday, America!”