How Does Guatemala Celebrate Independence Day

How Does Guatemala Celebrate Independence Day?

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

I was fortunate enough to witness Guatemala’s vibrant and festive Independence Day celebration, which was an unforgettable experience.

The streets are packed with parades and musical performances, and the fireworks are mesmerizing. Guatemala celebrates its freedom with great excitement and happiness. 

Today, we’ll explore how does Guatemala celebrate independence day. So, brace yourself for a sensory feast like no other.

7 Things That Guatemalans Do To Celebrate Independence Day

1. Torch Run (“Antorcha”)

Holding a Torch

As part of Independence Day festivities, Guatemalans participate in an exciting torch run called “Antorcha de la Independencia.” 

This tradition involves passing a special torch through different cities and towns nationwide. 

Young athletes and students form relay teams and carry the torch through the streets while crowds cheer them on. 

The torch symbolizes the flame of independence that sparked Guatemala’s freedom. It brings people together, inspiring unity and pride in their shared history. 

2. Fireworks

Fireworks displays are a standard and vibrant part of Independence Day celebrations in Guatemala. 

These breathtaking shows of vibrant colors and exciting sounds unite people in parks, stadiums, and other public places. 

“The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law, and that means we have to have an independent judiciary, judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing.”

Caroline Kennedy, United States Ambassador to Australia

The fireworks represent the spirit of freedom and fill everyone’s hearts with national pride. As the sky illuminates with bursts of light, the air fills with cheers and applause. 

3. Public Concerts & Dance Performances

Audience Waving Hands on a Concert

To celebrate Independence Day, Guatemalans come together for lively concerts and mesmerizing dance performances. 

In public squares and parks, stages are set up where local bands and artists showcase their talent, playing traditional music that fills the air with joy. 

The audience joins in, clapping and dancing to the lively tunes. Colorful folk dance troupes take the stage, dressed in stunning costumes representing Guatemala’s diverse regions.

4. Food Festivals

Guatemalans nationwide celebrate Independence Day with a beloved tradition: food festivals. 

Visitors enjoy a variety of traditional dishes – from tamales [1] to shucks – all made with locally sourced ingredients. 

All dishes use local ingredients and traditional family recipes. Food festivals offer delicious meals and create a bond between people and celebrate the country’s cultural pride.

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5. Flag Raising Ceremonies

Raising the flag is an integral part of celebrating independence day in Guatemala. 

Crowds gather in the city’s main plaza in the morning to watch the hoisting of the flag, where the country’s president salutes the banner and speaks of Guatemala’s history of freedom. 

Furthermore, schools, companies, towns, and individuals also raise their flags along the day with presentations and talks on the significance of independence. 

6. Street Parades

Guatemala Independence Day FLoat Parade

Schools, colleges, and community groups participate in colorful street parades. 

These parades usually feature students in marching bands and cheerleading squads and sometimes even costumed characters.

Youngsters also proudly carry the nation’s flag, and community members gather in local town squares to enjoy the festivities. But how do Cubans celebrate their independence day?

7. Preparing Of Civic Altars

Civic altars are in public places like town squares, government buildings, and schools. They are beautifully decorated with the colors of the Guatemalan flag, blue and white. 

They showcase the country’s history and culture, featuring old photographs, documents, and maps representing important moments in Guatemala’s struggle for independence. 

And it includes symbols of national pride, like the quetzal bird and Mayan designs. Flowers, candles, and other decorations create a festive atmosphere.

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How Did Guatemala Gain Its Independence?

Guatemala Flag

In 1821, Guatemala [2] declared independence from Spain, joining a federation of Central American provinces. But the fight for its full independence would last another two decades. 

It was finally achieved in 1840 after numerous conflicts between the federation and the other countries of Central America. 

“Let’s make sure the spirit of freedom shines brightly on Guatemala’s Independence Day, reminding us how our past shapes our present and future.”

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The leader of this independence movement was Rafael Carrera, a member of the lower social class who united with other liberal forces to drive out the Spanish Army. 

Since then, Guatemala has been fighting for democracy and human rights. Although it has gone through different difficulties, today, it is a free, sovereign nation.

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What happened after Guatemala gained its independence?

After gaining independence, Guatemala became a part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which united several Central American countries. 

Who proclaimed Guatemala’s independence?

Captain General Gabino Gainza proclaimed that Guatemala and the rest of Central America were now independent nations.

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Final Thoughts

Ultimately, Guatemala’s Independence Day is an extraordinary celebration that showcases the country’s vibrant spirit and rich cultural heritage. 

From the symbolic torch run that ignites the flame of freedom to the dazzling fireworks that light up the night sky, each moment is a testament to the nation’s indomitable pride. 

The air is filled with the harmonious sounds of public concerts and the rhythmic beats of dance performances, captivating audiences and stirring their hearts. 

As I experienced firsthand, the energy and enthusiasm of the Guatemalan people during this celebration is truly infectious. 


Kimberlee Johnson
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