Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Running for freedom

This month we are celebrating the Independence of Guatemala from the Spaniards in 1821.  I think it was 1821.  Well maybe it was 1776.  Let me check.  Yep, 1821.  Okay, what happened in 1776?  Here, not in the United States...let me check.  Oh, they founded the Capital City.  I knew something happened.

ANYWAY.  We have some cool traditions here.  The actual Independence Day is September 15th but this week we are busy EVERY DAY with something and it really is a month long celebration...kinda like when we celebrated Holy Week (Semana Santa) all through Lent.

I digress.  What I am trying to tell you about is our Independence runs!  Apparently back in 1821 when freedom was declared, the people in Guatemala City lit a huge fire and then people took torches from the fire and ran all the way to where ever they were from to tell them the good news.  This could be nearby or all the way in the outermost parts of Guatemala. 

 For this reason we find a town and light a torch (thankfully NOT everyone has to start in Guatemala City) and then run and run and run until we reach our own town where we circle around Central Park yelling "Viva Guatemala" and "NPH" with ear splitting whistles (we literally have whistles).  People honk their horns and cheer as the people with the torches lead the way. We eventually end up at home where fire crackers welcome us back and the people who stayed behind cheer us on.  We eventually light our own torch back home and by that time we are pretty tired because we just ran 4 miles if we are the pre-K kids and 7.5 miles if we are the big kids...so we say a few words about how great everything is and then rush off to drink water and shower.

In a word: CHILERO!

*Thank you to Vanessa for the photos!

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