In September, Nicaragua is celebrating its national day, or better said, its national month. Nicaraguans, like many people in the world, are pretty patriotic, and like to celebrate their special events. It's not just one, but two days, September 14 and 15 that marked the country’s history.
September 14 commemorates an important military victory that took place in 1856. In the 19th century, it was not unusual to conquer territories in order to create colonies. That’s what happened when an American, William Walker, organized a private military expedition in Latin America. He took advantage of a civil war in Nicaragua to take control of the city of Granada, and then the whole country. He declared himself president in April 1856. Walker and his followers are known as “filibusters”. But Nicaraguan colonel Jose Estrada rallied 160 soldiers and on September 14 defeated 300 of Walker's filibusters, in the Battle of San Jacinto (represented in the famous painting above). Although this did not defeat the American conqueror, this first significant victory was a turning point in the battle for people of Nicaragua to take back their country. Several Central American armies then created a coalition, that eventually ended Walker’s ruling.
September 15 commemorates the independence of the colonies of Central America from Spain, in 1821 (Therefore, this date is celebrated not only by Nicaragua, but also in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica). The two main cities of the country, Leon and Granada, created by the Spanish, entered in a conflict after the country’s independence. They were fighting over political issues, and both wanted to be capital of Nicaragua. The conflict escalated and lead to great incidents that threatened the young nation. And this is when the Americans intervened and sir William Walker took over the country… Both events are very much linked to each other!
The national month in Nicaragua is celebrated throughout several events starting September 1. School parades, folkloric shows, and music competitions are amongst the most popular activities organised around the country. Also, every year, a burning torch travels from Guatemala to Costa Rica, by feet. It is passed from hand to hand, by officials, by the best students of each school and by other outstanding individuals.
Visiting Nicaragua in September is a promise of real cultural immersion and folkloric journey. An unforgettable experience…