Independence Day: Come on baby, light my fire

Antorcha de la Independencia

School bands and parades were the norm to celebrate Independence Day before the December 29 signing of The Guatemalan Peace Accords of 1996, which put an end to Guatemala’s 36-year civil war since the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratic reformist government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 (read more…). School parades with their martial music bands were thought to be a remainder of the war and they were discontinued after the signing of the peace accords. This was the spark for the birth of another patriotic manifestation around Independence Day; and a very interesting one.

On September 14th, people from all over the country begin a marathon to go another part of the country to get the light for the Independence Torch in their communities. There are many places the have a torch where other people from other towns can light their torch to bring back to their own communities. Of course, there are favorite destinations to get the Independence Flame and La Antigua Guatemala is one of them. All the different torches in different locations throughout Guatemala and their respective marathons build a web of people running in all different directions at the same time. It is traffic nightmare and it is better to stay home on that date, unless you are running for your community to fetch the light for your torch.

On this photo, your can see the moment at which another community gets the light their torch; right after that, they run back to their community to light their own respective torch right before September 15th. People seem to enjoy this activity very much and it is community-forming as well as a chance to travel to another part of the country. Tomorrow, I will bring to you a photo a the actual marathon, stay tune.

How does your city celebrate Independence Day?

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