Ticos know how to throw a party, and Guanacaste Day is the perfect example of Costa Rican national pride. Held annually on July 25, this holiday commemorates the annexation of Guanacaste and is one of the most important celebrations in the country. Let's find out more about the origins of this holiday!
A defining moment in history
Guanacaste is the northwestern province of Costa Rica. The name itself is derived from two words in the Nahuatl language - "Quaiti," which means tree, and "Nacaztli," the Nahuatl word for ear. The province was named after a large tree that was located in a central park in Liberia, the capital of the Guanacaste province.
Originally, the region was part of Nicaragua, Costa Rica's neighbor to the north. In 1821, when Central America declared its independence from Spain, many of the colonies of Nicaragua and Guatemala were thrown into conflict over how to effectively govern themselves in light of Central America's newfound independence.
Some of the citizens of Nicoya, which was still a part of the Kingdom of Guatemala, identified more strongly with the politics of Costa Rica than Guatemala or Nicaragua, and sent an ambassador to the Costa Rican government with the goal of joining the country. This process was formally approved on July 25, 1824.
A joyous celebration
This year's Guanacaste Day celebrations will be the 188th anniversary of the annexation of the province. Ticos around Costa Rica unite in celebration of this momentous occasion, and if you're planning on visiting the country during the festivities, you can expect to see another side of Costa Rica during your stay.
All towns and cities across the country put on shows to celebrate the holiday. Throughout the Nicoya Peninsula, bullfighting is an important tradition, with many cities hosting elaborate ceremonial bullfights to celebrate the annexation. You can also expect to see street fiestas, folk dancing, flamboyant parades, horse pageants and cattle shows during Guanacaste Day, with Ticos of all ages joining in the revelry.
Although July 25 marks the official date of the Annexation of Guanacaste, the celebrations and street parties typically last for several days as Ticos get into the holiday spirit. Guanacaste Day is probably the most important national celebration in the country, and promises to be an event you'll never forget.
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