On September 15th Guatemala celebrated its 197th year of independence from Spain in 1821.
For almost 300 years Guatemala had been under Spanish rule. This day is very meaningful for all countries in Central America, on that date four other countries also declared their independence: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Each year Guatemalans are very passionate about celebrating their freedom and events leading up to the anniversary are festive and feverishly proud. Festivities are held around the country showing the patriotism of the Guatemalan people, you will find blue and white all over the houses and buildings and flags too!If you travel to Guatemala during this time of the year you will experience many traditional ceremonies and parties around the country; you'll hear whistles and marimbas, and see parades and marching bands practising for the big day!
A popular holiday tradition is La Conquista (The Conquest), a traditional dance where dancers wear wooden masks and red wigs, reenacting the conquest of the Mayans by the Spanish soldiers, led by Pedro de Alvarado.
And Quetzaltenango (locally called Xela) is the place to celebrate Guatemalan Independence like nowhere else! People from all over the country come to celebrate this special day - you can attend several activities that take place throughout the week. Visit the local fair, check out the parades and marching bands at Central Park or dance to the national band concerts around Xela.
The greatness of the Central American Independence Fair of Quetzaltenango, as it's called, lies not only in its commercial success, but also in the wealth of cultural events such as the Hispanic American Floral Games dating from 1916.
So if you ever visit Guatemala during Independence Day don’t forget to check out the beautiful, colourful streets of Xela to get a unique experience that you won’t forget!