The drum beats that are filling the air come from school children practicing for the Día de la Independencia, which is Sept. 15. School children and their bands will be on the march that Tuesday with local parades and celebrations.
The Ministerio de Educación Pública has announced a contest that focuses more on the night of Sept. 14. The story goes that leading Costa Rican citizens gathered in the streets under the light of their own lanterns to discuss the news of independence. So the farole or street lantern is part of the celebration.
Nearly every elementary student makes his or her own. That can be seen at independence gatherings in the various communities and on the evening of Sept. 14 in San José and Cartago, the former capital. Some are very elaborate.
The education ministry plans a farole contest in which students use recycled materials. This is the 194th anniversary of independence, and the contest is the first for primary grades. The contest has six categories based on the six grade levels Those interested in entering can find out more rules at the ministry Web site.
Students get to keep their creations. They just have to submit a photo with a brief description of how it was made to the ministry electronically by Sept. 7.
The celebration also includes a relay by students who carry the torch of independence from the northern border to Cartago, which always arrives just in time for the official celebration on the night of Sept. 14.