Holiday today also will honor first female soldier

This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Costa Rica’s own Molly Pitcher.  She is  Natalicio Francisca Carrasco Jiménez, who became a national symbol when she left her culinary duties, picked up a rifle and distinguished herself at the Batalla de Rivas.

Today is the anniversary of the Batalla de Rivas and a national holiday.

The Banco Nacional said Friday that it is sponsoring the presentation of  “Cantata La Guerra de 1856” in 20 communities. Two are today. One is at 2 p.m. at the Museo Juan Santamaría in Alajuela, and the other is at 6 p.m. in front of the Correos de Costa Rica building in downtown San José.

The Teatro Nacional will host a major performance Sunday at 7:45 p.m. The presentation has as a main character Francisca Carrasco.

In addition Correos said that it is issuing a commemorative stamp in honor of the woman who was known as Pancha. She is considered to be the first female member of the Costa Rica military.  A Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas boat bears her name as does an award for women police officers.

Molly Pitcher is the nickname of Mary Hays, a woman who provided pitchers of water during the U.S. Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth in 1778. When her husband either collapsed from the heat or suffered a wound, she took his place at a cannon and fired on the British.

That also is the story of Francisca Carrasco, a Cartago native who took a job as a cook in the Costa Rica army as it marched to confront the forces of U.S. filibusterer William Walker. The Battala de Rivas took place in Nicaragua and turned the tide against the would-be invader’s forces.

This is the same battle at which Juan Santamaria distinguished himself and whose memory is marked today with ceremonies and a parade at 10 a.m. in Alajuela.

The postage stamp was presented Friday at the  Colegio Pancha Carrasco de Guadalupe de Cartago. The stamp has a face amount of 2,060 colons and features a portrait of  Francisca Carrasco by Carlos Aguilar Durán from the collection of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

Casa Presidencial noted that President Luis Guillermo Solís is headed by train to Alajuela today at 6 a.m. for an 8 a.m. speech. The parade is at 10 a.m.

Other communities plan celebrations for the holiday today. In Cartago, for example, there will be various games for youngsters outside the mercado central today starting at 10 a.m. The event is sponsored by students and merchants.

This is the Francisca Carrasco stamp.

This is the Francisca Carrasco stamp.

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