Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Celebrating Guatemala's Independence Day 2016

September 15 is Independence Day in Guatemala.  The celebrations include parades, torch runs, and civic programs.  It is a fun time of the year and we always look forward to celebrating.

The only decorating I did this year was our school room door and I hung flags all around the house.

our dining room decorated for Independence Day

our schoolroom door decorated for Independence Day

In the week leading up to the holiday we enjoyed learning a little about Guatemala in school.  We studied the flag, Tecun Uman (Guatemala's national hero), the marimba, the monja blanca (Guatemala's national flower), the quetzal (Guatemala's national bird), and the Mayan ruins at Tikal.  I want my boys to know about Guatemala not only because it is the country where we live and serve but it is also the country where they were both born.  

This year our celebrating began on the 14th with a visit to the town of Jocotan to watch a parade.  The younger school children do their parade on the 14th and then the older kids march on the 15th.  Cruz went to school there in 2013 and 2014 so we like to go back and see his old classmates march.  I miss him getting to participate in things like the Independence Day parade now that he is no longer a part of a national school.  

me and my boys ready to watch the parade in Jocotan

waving their flags as the parade goes by

Another big part of the celebration is the torch runs that each school does.  We love watching them.  Here is one group I recorded on our way back to town.

We began our morning of the 15th by eating a typical Guatemalan breakfast.  After breakfast we drove out to Camotan to watch the morning parade.  We lived in Camotan for three years when we first moved to this area.   We like to go back there and watch the parade because it gives us a chance to see some familiar faces and revisit the community.

Before leaving we took our annual holiday family photo-
our family celebrating Guatemala's Independence Day 2016

The boys on the way to Camotan.  They love the parades just as much as I do.

waiting for the parade to start in Camotan

Ben waving his flag as the parade passed by

the boys at the Central Park in Camotan

I have taken this photo of Cruz in the Camotan Central Park on Independence Day for the past several years.  It has become a fun tradition.

We let them play on the town playground before driving back home.

having fun in Camotan

On the drive back home we passed through San Juan Ermita just as their parade was about to begin.  We ended up stopping and watching it also.  We love parades!

We returned home in time for lunch and then we enjoyed our annual flag cake for dessert.  I have been making this Guatemala flag cake for a few years now and it has become a tradition.  This year I  printed off the emblem from the flag and laminated it so that I could add it to the cake.  It washes up clean so I'll be able to use it for years to come. 

our Independence Day cake decorated like the Guatemala flag

In the past I have always made blue jello jigglers.  I usually cut it into star shapes but this year I decided to try a flag theme for it too.  I cut out rectangles and then put a strip of whipped cream through the center.  The boys loved it!

We ended the day with a trip to the local mall to watch some of the celebrations they had going on there.   While there we enjoyed two Guatemala favorites for supper- Pollo Campero chicken and Sarita's ice cream. 

What a great way to end the day!

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