Independence Day in Guatemala

Independence Day in Guatemala is on September 15. On Sept. 14, Guatemalan runners from across the country ready themselves for the passing of the torch, known as the “Antorcha de la Independencia.”

Year after year, the torch travels throughout Central America as a representation of the freedom and independence of the Central American peoples.

Independence Day in Guatemala

photo by Willy Posadas

In Guatemala, bystanders wave, whistle and clap, and drivers honk horns as torch runners pass by.  This tradition certainly sets the stage for Independence Day on Sept. 15 as Guatemala and other Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua) all celebrate their independence. The year was 1821 when, after two previous attempts, independence was declared from the Kingdom of Spain.

Independence Day in Guatemala is a full-on event, flags are flying it seems like everywhere, street vendors come out in force and additional food stalls go up to keep up with demand.

For schoolchildren and teens who have been practicing for more than a month, it’s their time to shine. To the delight of onlookers from open windows and bystanders on the sidewalks below, marchers dressed in colorful uniforms and musicians playing a variety of drums, xylophones and brass instruments strut and sway through the streets. Other festivities include speeches by officiaries, concerts performed by municipal bands, and into the night dancing, more music, more food and the obligatory fireworks displays.

For a PROCESSION MAP (Friday, 15th) and activities you can join in during Independence Celebration, see

REVUE magazine article.

Note from animal welfare groups: Bombas will be booming and firecrackers will be ratta-tat-tatting throughout the day and into the night. If your pet suffers from these sounds you may want to consult your veterinarian beforehand for advice.

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