Guatemala’s Independence Student Parades

Abanderada by Leonel Mijangos

Today I am happy to present my very good friend Leonel “Nelo” Mijangos photographs. Even though he has appeared twice in AntiguaDailyPhoto, this is the first time we get a chance to appreciate his photography. Nelo was kind enough to share with us some his photos to help us understand the Independence school parades.

Most people in Guatemala often say that Guatemalans are not very “patriotic” and immediately mention how patriotic the Mexicans really are: “that’s really patriotism!” Heck I even heard an hour long radio show today discussing it.

Having said that, one can see the first glances of the Independence Day preparations back in July, or earlier, with student bands practices (#1). Of course, there is plenty of Independence Day bunting everywhere since the first days of September and a lot of street vendors selling flags in all shades of blue, even though only one blue is the official (#2). One week before September 15, there are student parades from pre-primary to high school on the streets of every town in the country (#3). Don’t forget the marathons with their patriotic torches(#4). In every school, government building and town’s main plaza there are Pledges of Alliance to the Flag, although here we call it Juramiento a la bandera, and the singing of Guatemala’s National Anthem recitals; check out last year’s Libre al viento tu hermosa bandera to read Guatemala’s National Anthem in English (#5). In some towns, there are enactments of the Signing of Independence Act (#6). On September 15th, at 6 p.m. all over main squares and central parks of Guatemala there is a civic act known as La arriada de la bandera, Haul down of the flag (#7). There are, of course, speeches remembering the signing of the Independence Act and how many years has been thus far (188) since 1821 (#8). Last but not least, the burning of firecracker bombs, firecrackers and fireworks, which may include Torito firecracker burnings (#9).

That’s what Guatemalans, who are not very “patriotic”, do to celebrate their Independence.

All photos by Leonel [Nelo] Mijangos

© 2010 – 2017, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • rworange

    Wonderful photos. I’ll agree Guatemalans are patriotic. Even in my small village of Milagro, Misagua there was a colorful hour long parade where it seems everyone participated. The kids spent most of the month creating colorful costumes for the marchers.

    I have two questions if anyone can answer

    1. What is the signifigance of barriletes at the Independance Day parade. I’ve read your posts about these kites being siginificant for the day of the dead. However, there were quite a few at the Milagro parade. Excuse the links to these amateur photos taken with a cheap camera which are just for my own memories.

    2. Are there any traditional foods eaten on Independance Day similar to hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon and picnic foods in the USA?

    My own family didn’t do anything special food-wise. My Spanish skills are still elementary so I’m not able to ask things that are a little complex yet.

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