Costa Rica is known for having more holidays than any other nation in the world. However, few are as significant as the celebration of Guanacaste Day. Guanacaste Day, celebrated on July 25th, commemorates the annexation of the province of Guanacaste to Costa Rica in 1824.
Prior to this transition, Guanacaste belonged to Nicaragua. However, due to many civil wars and other internal problems, Guanacaste’s inhabitants requested to be annexed to Costa Rica. The Central American Federation approved the annexation and Guanacaste officially became a part of Costa Rica. This celebration will always be popular because it celebrates the Costa Rican’s core value of democracy.
Ever since the annexation, Guanacaste has significantly contributed to Costa Rica’s history, culture and economy. Culturally speaking, the contributions have included Tico snacks like tortillas and bizcochos, small, crispy, donut-like treats. Instruments from the province include quijongs (a stringed bow and gourd), tambores (drums), ocarinas (small ceramic flute), marimbas and other popular instruments. Costa Rican music has been heavily influenced by Guanacaste folkloric music, including songs like “El Torito,” “Pasión,” “Amor de Temporada,” “Luna Liberiana” and “Pampa.”
Guanacaste has also become an important economic pillar for the country. It is no secret that Guanacaste is an important producer of rice, sugar cane, sorghum and other crops. Livestock is also a lucrative resource raised on many area farms. By far Guanacaste is one of Costa Rica’s most important tourism destinations, earning the nickname the “Gold Coast of Central America.”
The ‘Guanacastecos’ have always been well connected with Costa Rica and take pride in being a part of this country. In fact, their famous slogan ‘de la patria por nuestra voluntad’, means ‘part of this country by our own choice’. This apparent, cultural fusion has created an unique marriage that is celebrated nationwide on an annual basis.
Guanacaste Day – National Costa Rica Holiday Every July 25th
The celebration of Guanacaste Day encompasses the following cultural ideals of Costa Rica : the love of dance and music, courtship rites, gender roles, and the peace-loving Costa Rican attitude. Guancaste Day is more that a regional celebration. It is a National Holiday that is celebrated all over Costa Rica. On Guancaste Day, like all public holidays, all banks, government offices, post offices and other commercial centers close. However, Guanacaste Day often extends into a weeklong celebration.
It is common to experience concerts, fireworks, fiestas, horse parades, cattle shows, and even bullfights in many parts of the country. However, bullfights in Costa Rica are very different than those in Spain. Tico-style bullfighting does not involve the unnecessary killing and slaughter of the animal. Rather, it involves young unarmed men teasing a bull or cow around a ring for a few minutes.
Many parades involve children wearing masks and dressing up in a variety of personages as they march to the park at the center of town. Music and traditional folk dancing are also a major part of the festivities that mark the holiday and make it enjoyable. Both local and international artists pay homage to the province. The most popular typical dances that occur during this celebration include the popular ‘Caballito Nicoyano’ and the ‘Punto Guanacasteco’.
With so much anticipation of the holiday’s annual celebration, there’s no end to the number of gatherings that occur nationwide. While the largest celebration takes place in the province of Guanacaste, you won’t have to go too far to get a piece of action. From major cities, to rural communities, Guanacaste Day is a holiday that is honored nationwide.