Country is getting decked out in the patriotic colors

The Instituto Nacional de Seguros has sprouted national flags for this, the patriotic month. Photo: AM Costa Rica

Public buildings and some private ones are being decked out in Costa Rican flags and bunting because September is the patriotic month. This is the month that the anniversary of the country’s independence is celebrated. This is the 190th.

Some buildings, such as Banco Popular downtown and the building of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros on Avenida 7 already are showing their colors. Both have Costa Rican flags.

Officials said Monday that workmen would be installing flags on poles along the General Cañas highway today from the city nearly to Juan Santamaría airport.

This also is the time when students accept the torch of liberty that has been carried by runners from Guatemala and deliver it to Cartago. Costa Rican students carry the torch in relays from Peñas Blanca at the Nicaraguan border to a meeting of central government officials in Cartago. That will be the evening of Sept. 14, a Wednesday.

They stop off in San José for a big ceremony at 6 p.m. where local children will be displaying their faroles, replicas of 19th century lanterns. There is a tradition to sing the national anthem at 6 p.m., too.

Meanwhile there is a proliferation of torches and runners all over the country. Some take the fire from the Cartago-bound flame. Others ignite on their own. No community is so small that a torch will not make an appearance that night.

Thursday, Sept. 15, is a legal holiday, but students have an obligatory day in public school where civic lessons will be given. Many students will fulfill their obligation by participating in parades in their communities.

Students will be well-versed in the country’s history in time for independence day. The school week from Monday to Sept. 9 is Semana Civica where each school will commemorate the 190th

n advance of the Día de Independencia there will be workshops to help youngsters create and construct their own farole. Some adults have made elaborate ones, including one that is a model of the Catedral Metropolitana. The lighted faroles are a unique aspect of the independence celebration. They emulate the lanterns that citizens in 1821 used to come into the street to discuss the decree of independence. Actually Costa Ricans on Sept. 15, 1821, were unaware of the events in Guatemala City, the regional capital. The news did not reach isolated Costa Rica until the following Oct. 13. Facsimiles of these documentshave been on display in the Archivo Nacional.

An additional historical aspect of the month is that Sept. 30 is the 151st anniversary of the deaths of  Juan Rafael Mora and José María Cañas. The former president and his brother-in-law, the general, were executed after trying to make a political comeback after Mora was ousted in a coup.

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