August 04, 2011

Huge Sentence for Past Atrocities

This is a major sign of justice and living up to the terms of peace accords. I only wish that Rios Mont doesn't stand trial himself - not only his foot soldiers that did his dirty deeds!

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/envoy/guatemala-sentences-ex-soldiers-12-060-years-jail-174709252.html

Posted by Kevin at 04:50 PM

September 14, 2009

Independence Day

Tuesday is Independence Day in Guatemala. To learn a bit about it, you can refer here to an old post we had:
http://www.guatadopt.com/archives/000217.html

And here is the Wikipedia on Guatemala:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala#Independence_and_19th_century
We wish a Happy Independence Day to all of our friends, family, and comprades Chapin!

Posted by Kevin at 05:32 PM

October 17, 2008

All Saints Day-Dia de Todosantos: November 1

A Delicious Tradition

On the eve of November 1, Guatemalans prepared a dish called Fiambre.

Supermarkets and sales of sausages from the capital are busy, people procure products for the making of fiambre, the country's traditional dish for the day dedicated to the dead.

To acquire the ingredients to prepare a dish of fiambre, as it is customary in Guatemala for more than 400 years, has marked the eve of November 1 and 2, while others are directed to visit the graves of their loved ones .

In meat houses, markets and supermarkets, hundreds attempted to buy hams, cheeses and sausages, accompanied by pickled vegetables, the traditional food they enjoy with their families on November 1 and 2, All Saints Day and the Faithful Dead, respectively.

The eve before, people go to a salchichoneria, where they acquired all the ingredients.

Families gather that night, to continue a tradition that holds us together.

In Hiper Paiz and other supermarkets, customers started arriving after 8am, and most go directly to the aisles where they could find the ingredients for fiambre, including a special combo: four pounds of this dish, a bread of the dead, a pound of sweet squash and 2.5 liters of soda a drink, Q155.95, a dish or individual Q65.95.

Visiting Cemeteries

The camposantos also were visited by hundreds of Guatemalans who spent a few hours to clean and decorate the pantheons of relatives.

Young children may accompany adults for the first time to their family gravesites to bring flowers. Families also go to decorate the family vault..

People do this every year, so as not to lose the tradition. It is a way of instilling the values of family.

Origins: Symbolic Food

According to the historian Celso Lara, fiambre represents the essence of Guatemalans.

The origin of fiambre goes back to the beginning of the seventeenth century, when it merged with the pre-Hispanic traditions in Spain, in a saucer to commemorate all the saints and the faithfully departed.

Since then, fiambre took root in the country each November 1.

Lara believes that this is the most delicious dish and exuberant of Guatemala. According to the historian, fiambre is part of an ancient custom, and not a tradition that was born of an impromptu meal, as some legends say.

It is a salad, served chilled, and may be made up from over 50 ingredients. Each family has its own secret recipe and ingredient. Passed down from generation to generation.

Fiambre started out from the tradition in Guatemala of taking dead family members their favorite dishes to the cemeteries for All Saints Day, this is the way it is celebrated in Guate. As all different families brought food to the celebrations, they became mixed, eventually mixing them together to this all-encompassing salad. Ingredients usually include numerous cold cuts and sausages, pickled baby-corn and onion, beets, pacaya flower, different cheeses, olives, chicken, and sometimes even brussels sprouts or shrimp.

This dish varies from family to family, recipes traditionally passed on to younger generations. Because of this it is customary to share your fiambre with other families and relatives.

Some variances are:

* Fiambre rojo (with beets)
* Fiambre blanco (no beets)
* Fiambre desarmado (traditional of the department of Jalapa)
* Fiambre verde (no cold cuts, vegetarian)

See this link for a picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiambre

If one wants to celebrate Guatemala's holiday it should be "All Saints Day" (Dia de Todosantos), which is celebrated on Nov. 1. Folks should know that Mexico's "Day of the Dead" (Dia de los Muertos), is different, these holidays are celebrated differently in both countries.

Guatemalans from Guate City and other urban areas prepare "fiambre" (recent thread on it on the our Forum). Fiambre is the central element of Nov. 1st, and people talk about "celebrating fiambre" or ask "where will you eat fiambre." All Guatemalans visit the cemetery, clean their loved ones' tombs, give them a fresh coat of paint, decorate them, but flowers and have a meal right there.
That is when the kite flying happens (except Santiago Sacatepequez where the kite flying is an event by itself). The air is very festive and children participate in the celebration. Everywhere people prepare special meals to eat with their dead (but no Mexican candy skulls!). Apart from fiambre, some people prepare sweet potato and other warm desserts (it is the onset of the "cold" season). Food vendors go out of their way on Nov. 1st as people who have been in La Antigua for that time can attest to. Most typical foods are sold, including lots of traditional candy.

Todosantos is a wonderful example of how Guatemalans keep close ties with their dead. Visiting the cemetery constitutes a normal outing and Nov. 1st is the most important day of the year to visit and honor loved ones. Eating a meal at the cemetery is a sign of these close ties and the fact that the "frontier" between the living and the dead is more fluid than in other cultures.

Posted by Marie at 05:47 AM

September 14, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Monday is Independence Day in Guatemala. To learn a bit about it, you can refer here to an old post we had:
http://www.guatadopt.com/archives/000217.html

And here is the Wikipedia on Guatemala:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala#Independence_and_19th_century

We wish a Happy Independence Day to all of our friends, family, and comprades Chapin!

Posted by Kevin at 08:46 AM

November 05, 2007

Colom Wins Presidency

Its official....Alvaro Colom is the next President of Guatemala.

International Tribune Article

If you have not read much about the Vice President, here is some information about Dr. Rafael Espada

Sign On San Diego Article

Posted by Kelly at 06:36 AM

March 27, 2007

Esteemed Houston surgeon hopes to be Guatemala's next vice president

This is an interesting article about Espada, who is running for Guatemala's Vice Presidency on Colom's ticket.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4660635.html

I often wonder if the next presidency will loosen the red tape on humanitarian aide coming from the US. This presidency cracked down on container taxes. This meant that many charities who relied on donated clothing and such had to pay taxes on any items they received. So charities had to cut out container shipments because they did not have the cash base to "guess" on imposed taxes. Naturally, this severely limited donors and donations!

Posted by Kelly at 02:41 AM

January 14, 2007

The Presidential Race in Guatemala

In 2003, Berger became the President of Guatemala replacing Portillo . This coming September, his term will be coming to an end and under Guatemalan law is barred to run for a consequtive term. Of particular interest to the 2007 ballet are:

Posted by Kelly at 07:45 PM

November 30, 2006

File Cabinets, Attics, Safety Glasses and Dust Bunnies

{Editorial - On the lighter side}
The other night, my husband handed me a pair of really nice safety glasses with magnification at the bottom of each lens. I looked across the room...OK, then down at my hand through the magnification. Hmm....I had a nice little scratch on my thumb. File that under "minor injuries I did not notice...when did that happen?" It had me thinking....I've had many "editorials" that have been abandoned because of time constraints or the fact that they might end up being too long. I tend to want to focus on the ENTIRE adoption situation in Guatemala. However, that might take a book rather than an entry on this page. Besides, we really need to back up occassionally and talk about cultural issues as new readers jump on the site.

This time, I wanted to start with a few analogies I found rather fun when I first started traveling internationally.

  • Filing it Away

  • In the Attic

  • Whose Glasses am I wearing?

  • Dust Bunnies

  • Sparkle
  • Filing it Away - This is the process of "noting" an interesting tidbit that might have shocked you, you found contrary to your beliefs or you simply thought might be relevant to a particular subject. It is the action of realizing that it is important, but without judgement. It can contain those "Ah-Ha's" as well as information that you don't know what to do with. A well-traveled friend of mine introduced me to this concept. She would take index cards and write her "tidbits" down. At the top, was a set of keywords like "Australia", "Rare Animals" and then the tidbit of information. She never put it on computer, but her kids later would rifle through her information and come up with ideas on reports for school.


    In the Attic (culture and history)
    - is a concept of putting life history in perspective. Think about the contents of your attic, basement or other storage area in your house...you could probably get a pretty close description of what is in there without looking. Chances are, you could also give the history and a little story behind some of those items. Now, name everything in your neighbor's attic. The attic concept is a reminder that you may not know everything about the history of another person...or country. Reading books about a topic (such as the history of Guatemala) certainly help. But our understanding is limited by lack of being there.

    Glasses (Safety Glasses) - Looking forward and around (perspective). It is the basis for decisions that are made via perceptions. It is also the ability to see cause and effect. Whose glasses are we wearing? What are we focusing on? What are "they" focusing on? Example: Couples who are adopting their first child may talk in terms of THEIR feelings and desires prior to adopting. On visits, they are focused on what is best for them....but are these things best from the perspective of the child (FYI: I am pro-visit, but decisions while visiting should be thoughtful of the child).

    Dust Bunnies - This is the layer of dust that distorts ones perceptions. It is the rhetoric or the disguise that hides the true nature of anything (including attic treasures and glasses). Dust Bunnies make things fuzzy and indistinct, they even clog your ears. Dust Bunnies dull the colors and they have no real value to discussions except to misguide the recipient. Dust bunnies can be vague comments or they can be obvious strategies to distort views. An example might be the rumors of Organ Harvesting. This myth has reared its ugly head in Latin American and was purposefully used to frighten locals about why North Americans adopt their children. Even DOS denounced it after an investigation came up with nothing.

    Sparkle - May be embedded in Dust Bunnies but also can be used independently. It is the verbaige or methodology that is used to "attract" attention. It is not necessarily derogatory. For instance, if I wrote a book about Guatemala...I would want to use the Maya colors as "sparkle" to my cover. Journalists (looking for the most scadelous angle on any story) will use words like "Baby Factory" or "Exporting thousands of Babies" to attract attention. While we might consider these borderline dust bunnies, they are certainly embedded with the Sparkle word-play.

    Why the Analogies?
    Its experimental. Years ago, when a co-worker introduced me to these analogies, I rolled my eyes. But then I found myself leaning over to whisper "Dust Bunny" during a techie seminar. So, it was catchy. We had quite a few more...but these few come to mind when I talk about adoptions and Guatemala. Lets do a little sample bit of Filing...I have mentioned some of these before, but we'll rehash.

    A card in my Guatemalan File Cabinet
    A common "thing" in Guatemala is for young baby girls to have their ears pierced. Actually, this is common in many Latin American countries. In Costa Rica, I believe this happens at the hospital close after birth. This is quite different from the US where many caucasion parents might feel it is improper until a certain age. But a young girl without pierced ears is almost considered freakish.

    Hmmm, here's one...
    Why do some babies have their head shaved?
    Because there is a general belief that the hair grows back thicker.

    Bundling babies is a common practice in Guatemala. While some can go to extremes, it is something that a new adoptive parent should consider when visiting or picking up their child....ie: the child is used to VERY warm clothing. While sleeveless shirts might be fine for you in Guatemala, it is almost scandelous for your adopted child!

    In the Attic - culture (lets see who can answer these questions in the comments...I can answer some, but not all)
    How many Mayan languages are spoken in Guatemala? What is the most common? How many *trbes* still have men wearing traditional dress? What tribe is considered the best backstrap weavers? What are other tribes known (art, farming?). What does 'Ladino' refer to in Guatemala?

    Now, if you don't know the answers...your homework is to go find out!!!! Finally, I'll point you to some funny language goofs I came across a few years ago by some missionaries to Guatemala. These are priceless and give you a little insight to things you might not know about Guatemala and/or Spanish. Click here to read them....

    Please feel free to add your own files, dust bunnies or sparkle (just keep it clean folks). We'll be adding these to a database in our Resource Center.

    Posted by Kelly at 02:24 PM

    November 03, 2006

    Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption presents...

    Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption presents
    An Evening with Justa Xinico

    Justa Xinico, an indigenous Kaqchikel Mayan teacher from Guatemala, will share her life experiences of growing up in Guatemala. She will share insights regarding the current state of the education system in Guatemala and her plight to improve the educational opportunities for all children of Guatemala. Justa has worked with Cooperative for Education and will share her personal experiences with the impact of Cooperative for Education's work in Guatemala.

    Where: Terwilliger’s Lodge
    10530 Deefield Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45242

    When: Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Agenda: 7:00 p.m. Appetizers and social time
    7:30 p.m. Presentation by Justa Xinico
    8:30 p.m. Question and answer session
    8:45 p.m. Dessert and coffee

    Cost: This event is free of charge. FTGA is sponsoring the event. An opportunity will be given for attendees to make a donation to Cooperative for Education (www.coeduc.org).

    RSVP: Please RSVP for the event by November 15th by visiting www.ftga.net and clicking on Special Events. Space is limited to the first 100 people who RSVP.

    ***Childcare will not be available at this event. The event is intended for ages 13 and older.

    Biography, Justa Xinico
    Justa Xinico (pronounced WHO-staa Shin-EE-co) is an indigenous Kaqchikel Mayan teacher from Chimaltenango, Guatemala. She was raised in an impoverished farming family who made their living by cultivating corn, beans, potatoes and squash. The village in which Justa grew up was a “conflictive zone” during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war. She lost a number of her relatives to the army’s brutal counter-insurgency campaign.
    Despite many hardships, Justa was determined to rise above her limited circumstances. In a country where 85% of indigenous children drop out before the 7th grade, Justa finished all 12 years of formal schooling and even managed several years of study at a Guatemalan university.
    Justa believes in the importance of education not only for herself, but also for her entire country. She tirelessly advocates to this end. Her efforts have made it possible for multiple schools in her area to benefit from Cincinnati-based Cooperative for Education’s Textbook and Computer Center Programs since 2001.
    She currently lives with her husband and two children in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, where she teaches English at a small secondary school.

    Posted by Kevin at 12:26 PM

    October 19, 2005

    Revolution Day

    October 20th is the holiday known in Guatemala as Revolution Day. It commemorates the October Revolution of 1944 in which a virtually bloodless coup led to the overthow of the Ponce dictatorship and the presidency of Dr. Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo.

    In order to understand and appreciate the significance requires a little history lesson...

    The story begins near the end of WWII when Guatemala had been ruled by a harsh dictator named General Ubico for over a decade. In the spring of 1944, a growing coalition of teachers, shopkeepers, skilled workers and students decided enough was enough. This coalition had been exposed to the promise of democracy and was motivated by FDR's "Four Freedoms" - a declaration that all people were entitled to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Realizing the harsh conditions they had been living in, the Guatemalans saw the inequities in their system and were finally doing something about it.

    At the same time, middle-class Guatemalans were seeing some improvements being made to the middle-class in Mexico as a result of that country's nationalizing of its oil industry. This too started to get Guatemalans thinking that the country was in need of more social programs and freedoms.

    All of this caught the Ubico regime and the ruling aristocracy a bit by surprise as they never realized that the people could organize so effectively.

    The first overt act of protest was carried out by teachers demanding higher wages when they announced that they would refuse to march, as tradition demanded, in the annual Teacher?s Day parade scheduled for June 30, 1944. Furthermore, they began to stage a series of nonviolent demonstrations. On June 29th, the scattered protests came together into what was the largest protest in the country's modern history. It encompassed nearly every segment of urban Guatemalan culture. The coalition converged on the capital?s central square demanding that Ubico step down from power. Ubico responded by ordering in his cavalry and some 200 people died. But the response was not what Ubico had hoped for. Instead of ending the unrest, many of the victims became martyrs and the energy of the movement grew.

    A few days later, 311 teachers, lawyers, doctors, small businessmen, and other citizens handed Ubico the "Petition of the 311" which expressed the "full solidarity" of the signers with the "legitimate aspirations" of the protestors. This shocked Ubico as many of the signers were not from the lower class and were known personally to him as friends and prominent citizens.

    On July 1, Ubico surprised the nation when he resigned and placed one of his military commanders, General Frederico Ponce, into office. Ponce was not much better than Ubico and thought that all the country wanted was a new strongman. He was gravely mistaken as the ferment continued. In the fall of 1944, Guatemala's most prominent journalist, Alejandro Cordova, who was also a member of the largely powerless National Legislative Assembly, incited the dissident movement with a series of anti-government newspaper articles. He followed these up with a fiery speech before the Assembly and was promptly assassinated within a few days. This new act violence only gave the dissent more fervor.

    In order to create the impression of democracy, Ponce called for a free election to present himself for popular ratification. While many people came forth to present themselves as opposition candidates, the teachers were looking for someone revolutionary who had no history in the politics that had for so long fought against popular will. They found this in Dr. Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo, himself a teacher who had lived in exile in Argentina for 14 years.

    On September 2, 1944, Arevalo returned to Guatemala and was met with a huge, cheerful demonstration that was larger than any of the prior ones. However, Arevalo had to quickly go into hiding as Ponce had issued a warrant for his arrest.

    Ponce never got to participate in the election though as he was forced to flee the country on October 22 to Mexico following an armed revolt led by two young officers, Major Francisco Arana and Captain Jacobo Arbenz. Ubico, who was waiting in the wings hoping to return to power, was forced to seek sanctuary in the British Legation.

    Guatemala's October Revolution was won in lightning speed with only 100 lives lost. Arana and Arbenz were deemed victorious heroes and formed a ruling junta with Jorge Toriello, a prominent businessman. They immediately announced that free elections, the first in the nation's history under a democratic constitution, would be held soon.

    Arevalo won that election as a clean candidate and promptly called for democratic reform with a definite socialist bend. On March 15, 1945 he took office as the first popularly elected President of Guatemala. This was the start of an age of reform that later led to Arbenz becoming President. And it was the Arbenz presidency and his land reform policy which ultimately caused the CIA to stage a coup against him, essentially beginning the horrendous 36 year civil war which led to the massacre of an estimated 200,000 mostly innocent indigenous civilians.

    For more information on the Civil War and the 20th century history of Guatemala, please read the book Bitter Fruit, where most of this information on Revolution Day came from.

    Posted by Kevin at 06:04 PM

    October 19, 2004

    Revolution Day

    October 20th is the holiday known in Guatemala as Revolution Day. It commemorates the October Revolution of 1944 in which a virtually bloodless coup led to the overthow of the Ponce dictatorship and the presidency of Dr. Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo.

    In order to understand and appreciate the significance requires a little history lesson...

    The story begins near the end of WWII when Guatemala had been ruled by a harsh dictator named General Ubico for over a decade. In the spring of 1944, a growing coalition of teachers, shopkeepers, skilled workers and students decided enough was enough. This coalition had been exposed to the promise of democracy and was motivated by FDRs Four Freedoms - a declaration that all people were entitled to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Realizing the harsh conditions they had been living in, the Guatemalans saw the inequities in their system and were finally doing something about it.

    At the same time, middle-class Guatemalans were seeing some improvements being made to the middle-class in Mexico as a result of that countrys nationalizing of its oil industry. This too started to get Guatemalans thinking that the country was in need of more social programs and freedoms.

    All of this caught the Ubico regime and the ruling aristocracy a bit by surprise as they never realized that the people could organize so effectively.

    The first overt act of protest was carried out by teachers demanding higher wages when they announced that they would refuse to march, as tradition demanded, in the annual Teachers Day parade scheduled for June 30, 1944. Furthermore, they began to stage a series of nonviolent demonstrations. On June 29th, the scattered protests came together into what was the largest protest in the countrys modern history. It encompassed nearly every segment of urban Guatemalan culture. The coalition converged on the capitals central square demanding that Ubico step down from power. Ubico responded by ordering in his cavalry and some 200 people died. But the response was not what Ubico had hoped for. Instead of ending the unrest, many of the victims became martyrs and the energy of the movement grew.

    A few days later, 311 teachers, lawyers, doctors, small businessmen, and other citizens handed Ubico the Petition of the 311 which expressed the full solidarity of the signers with the legitimate aspirations of the protestors. This shocked Ubico as many of the signers were not from the lower class and were known personally to him as friends and prominent citizens.

    On July 1, Ubico surprised the nation when he resigned and placed one of his military commanders, General Frederico Ponce, into office. Ponce was not much better than Ubico and thought that all the country wanted was a new strongman. He was gravely mistaken as the ferment continued. In the fall of 1944, Guatemalas most prominent journalist, Alejandro Cordova, who was also a member of the largely powerless National Legislative Assembly, incited the dissident movement with a series of anti-government newspaper articles. He followed these up with a fiery speech before the Assembly and was promptly assassinated within a few days. This new act violence only gave the dissent more fervor.

    In order to create the impression of democracy, Ponce called for a free election to present himself for popular ratification. While many people came forth to present themselves as opposition candidates, the teachers were looking for someone revolutionary who had no history in the politics that had for so long fought against popular will. They found this in Dr. Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo, himself a teacher who had lived in exile in Argentina for 14 years.

    On September 2, 1944, Arevalo returned to Guatemala and was met with a huge, cheerful demonstration that was larger than any of the prior ones. However, Arevalo had to quickly go into hiding as Ponce had issued a warrant for his arrest.

    Ponce never got to participate in the election though as he was forced to flee the country on October 22 to Mexico following an armed revolt led by two young officers, Major Francisco Arana and Captain Jacobo Arbenz. Ubico, who was waiting in the wings hoping to return to power, was forced to seek sanctuary in the British Legation.

    Guatemalas October Revolution was won in lightning speed with only 100 lives lost. Arana and Arbenz were deemed victorious heroes and formed a ruling junta with Jorge Toriello, a prominent businessman. They immediately announced that free elections, the first in the nations history under a democratic constitution, would be held soon.

    Arevalo won that election as a clean candidate and promptly called for democratic reform with a definite socialist bend. On March 15, 1945 he took office as the first popularly elected President of Guatemala. This was the start of an age of reform that later led to Arbenz becoming President. And it was the Arbenz presidency and his land reform policy which ultimately caused the CIA to stage a coup against him, essentially beginning the horrendous 36 year civil war which led to the massacre of an estimated 200,000 mostly innocent indigenous civilians.

    For more information on the Civil War and the 20th century history of Guatemala, please read the book Bitter Fruit, where most of this information on Revolution Day came from.


    Posted by Kevin at 12:08 PM

    September 14, 2004

    It's Independence Day!!!

    September 15 is Independence Day in Guatemala, celebrating the independence of the countries of Central America from Spain! Id like to thank my friend Traci K for writing the caption below about how the holiday is celebrated. Because she had such a difficult time finding information on how the holiday came to be, I asked a friend and comrade in Guatemala to explain it to me. He said that it came to be more through political means than through a war. Imagine that, political changes can happen without violence!!!! While there had been some uprisings and strikes against Spanish rule, they mostly only impacted the indigenous people. The real independence apparently came because the sons of the colonial Spaniards, the Espaoles, born in Central America did not have the same legal rights as the people born in Spain. As a result, they opted to declare their independence from Spain. Spain did not pay much attention to their growing movement and basically let the small countries go on their merry way. At that time, Mexico annexed most of the Central American countries and a Civil War did ensue for fifteen years. Guatemala ultimately gained its sovereignty, though it did not gain all of its traditional territorial space in areas like Chiapas. If anyone can add to this or correct it, please do.

    Traci's piece to the puzzle:

    I have been thinking about how to celebrate Guatemalan Independence Day with our kids. We were hoping to go to the Independence Day celebration being sponsored by the Guatemalan Consulate, but unfortunately it was canceled. So I decided to search the web to see what I could find about Independence Day and was surprised at how little I found on either English or Spanish websites. I did find a little about the history of why the celebration is on September 15th and about how it is celebrated in Guatemala.

    Someday I hope to experience Independence Day in Guatemala with our nios. In the mean time I will share with them what I have learned, I hope you find this information interesting as well. On September 15, 1821 Guatemala gained its Independence from Spain. This Independence Day is shared with all the other Central American countries except for Panama and Belize. Following this, Guatemala was briefly part of Mexico and then later became a part of the United Provinces of Central America. This confederation fell apart due to a war between the members that occurred from 1838 to 1840. At the end of the war Guatemala became an independent nation.

    Independence Day is not a tourism draw and is not celebrated much outside of the country (like Cinco de Mayo) but is a local Guatemalan celebration. Since it is a national holiday many Guatemalans take the opportunity to travel to the more traditional tourist areas to watch celebrations. On the day preceding Independence Day the national anthem is sung with gusto in schools. The Schools, and even the school buses, are decorated with patriotic motifs in celebration. Traditionally the army of Guatemala celebrates with a protocol act and air acrobatics, usually for the audience of the President. As the day comes to a close children and adults can be seen waving small plastic Guatemalan flags in the streets and the stores are decked out in Blue and White decorations.

    While Guatemala is celebrating so are the other countries of Central America. Since they all achieved independence together they also have ways of celebrating together, though many celebrate on both the 14th and the 15th. A torch, which begins in Guatemala on the 14th, travels by relay race down the Pan American Highway to Costa Rica where it arrives on the 15th. Along the route people decorate homes and schools. Children dress up in their finest school uniforms and cheer along with the adults as the runners and the torch goes by. It is a great honor to be chosen to be a runner of the Independence Day torch. As runners cross between countries borders there are cultural ceremonies with dignitaries of all the Central American countries there to honor Independence Day.

    Posted by Kevin at 08:53 PM