Independence Celebrations in Guatemala

Parades, souvenirs fireworks folkloric dances, everything about Indepencence Celebration in Guatemala.

On Sept. 14 scholars, students, co-workers, neighbors, family and friends gather together in small and not so small groups to participate in the traditional Ir a traer la antorcha (literal translation, “Go bring the torch”).

This tradition involves traveling to another Guatemalan town or city. Popular destinations include La Antigua, Panajachel, Quiché, etc. Upon arrival everyone is free to enjoy some sightseeing, lunch and relax.

Independence Celebrations in Guatemala

Antorcha en Antigua, by Luis Toribio

On this day, many municipalities light a small fire called “the fire of freedom.” The torch groups gather at the town’s plazas to light their torches.

This marks the beginning of the journey back home. But not exclusively by bus. Instead everyone takes turns running a couple of kilometers, torch held high then passing it to someone else in the group. The goal is to return carrying the fire of freedom to your town before midnight.

Upon arrival home there is always a special ceremony. The fire should remain lit until the 15th at 6:00 pm, when the celebration of independence ends.

by Luis Toribio

by Luis Toribio

There are also fantastic Independence Day parades throughout Guatemala in which students are the main participants. These parades can be seen on Sept. 14 and 15. Lively marchers in colorful uniforms move to the beat of Guatemalan’s marching band-style who play popular Latin rhythms.

Folkloric dances are also on display during this special occasion. Students dance along the parade route and perform as they pass through the central town square or in front of the municipality.

Independence Celebrations in Guatemala

by Jaime Barrientos Montalvo

Independence souvenirs and typical food is sold the town’s squares around the country. Vehicles, homes, businesses, schools, government buildings they are all decorated with Guatemalan flags.

Independence Celebrations in Guatemala

by Luis Vivar

At night, musical concerts, marimba, folkloric dances, toritos and fireworks mark the end of the celebration.

Independence Celebrations in Guatemala

by German Velasquez

REVUE magazine article by Hadazul Cruz

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