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Today, September 15th, is Independence Day for Costa Rica! This means a national day off to commemorate when Costa Rica declared independence from Spain in 1821. It also means an end to band practice at the Mauro Fernandez high school in Tibas with a concurrent commencement of afternoon peace for the surrounding neighborhood. For the past three months our neighborhood has been witness to the daily afternoon ritual of drum and xylophone madness. Interestingly enough, this torrent of sound seemed to coincide with the start of the daily afternoon downpours. It was like a staccato competition; the fury of adolescent angst against rain pounding on tin roofs. All this practice was meant for today when the band got to march through Tibas and sonically demonstrate why they are failing their classes. They marched along with several other school bands in a parade that lasted for about three hours. We watched the latter half of the parade along with hundreds of other people from the main park in Tibas. We missed the first half because we have a one month old baby. I think that’s going to be my excuse for everything. Like if someone asks me why I think it’s Tuesday when it’s Wednesday, where I have been, what have I been up to, I will show them a picture of Miranda. It was cool to see the second half though and didn’t miss our neighborhood high school because they finished up the parade.

When we got to the park, there were people everywhere. I don’t know where they came from. I mean I see very few people on the streets of residential Tibas. I guess they stay in their houses, watch TV and drink coffee (based upon experience with my mother in law). Well, they all came out today to watch the parade, drink “Imperial” (beer of Costa Rica), socialize and drink more Imperial. My father in law was one of those. In fact, he came down from the hills to watch the Tibas show (he lives higher up in Moravia). He said it was like driving through a labyrinth of parades to get here but it was worth it. Paul likes fiestas of all sorts; one of his favorite activities is singing karaoke at his house. Here he is shading his partner, Julieta, who in turn is helping Miranda partake in her drink of choice.

  

Here’s a patriotic shot of flag carriers passing in front of the church where we got married.

 

These kids announced the arrival of their school; Kamuk. I don’t know where that name came from but it makes me think of elephants.

 

 

Much of the Kamuk school carried placards denouncing television. Seriously, they were very anti-TV. These kids dressed as firefighters have a sign that says, “No more Tricks! TV producers respect us! You need us kids to help you with TV shows.”

 

 

This semi threw me for a loop until I realized it was carrying a float.

 

 

Then the float through me for a loop because it looked like it was full of garbage! Check out the fake Great-tailed Grackles picking at garbage next to some dirty kids.

 

 

It was actually a pro-recycling float and even had a singer! I couldn’t hear what she was saying but suppose it was something along the lines of, “Recycle, recycle before you are all smudgy and have to fight over garbage with

Great-tailed Grackles!” On the back of the float, a sign read, “Together we make a culture of peace”.

 

 

Kamuker girl scouts; sorry, no cookies today.

 

 

Most schools had someone dressed up like a red-cross worker. Poor kid; looks like he’s thinking of rescuing himself after marching around for hours in the tropical heat.

 

One school saluted the crowd.

 

 

 

There were even a few of these traditional “mascaradas”- giant puppet/mask like things meant to entertain and/or frighten (kind of like clowns except not as scary).

 

 

I think this one was supposed to be Che or Fidel saying, “Watch out kids! Here I come with my own special brand of forced socialism!”

 

The Mascaradas came with a cool pro-ecological truck.

 

 

There were also kids in traditional dress parading…

 

and in the audience.

 

Costa Rican majorettes.

 

 

Last but not least, the Mauro Fernandez band arrives on the scene with flags…

 

 

and then the fruits of the drumming practice we had been force fed. I must admit that their practice paid off and by the amount of applause they received I think the rest of Tibas agreed. 

 

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2 Responses to “Costa Rica Independence Day”

  1. 1-Kamuk is a mountain in our country, it is a landmark. The name has a great significance for us, life is full of high peaks we go through.
    2- These girls were not girlscouts, their dresses may look like those in your country;however Costa Rican scouts, dressed really different do not sell cookies. Actually, they do not sell anything!!! We highly respect them, maybe as much as our parades!

  2. @Marcela
    1- Thanks for clarification about the name Kamuk. I admit that I have never heard of any Ticos talking about this mountain ( and yes, I speak with Ticos on a daily basis) but I see why the school that a niece and nephew of mine attend has that name- a good one!
    2- I know that these girls are not girlscouts nor do they sell cookies. The post was obviously written with a sense of humor and not meant to be taken that seriously. It is true that girlscouts in the country I used to live in (the USA) wear similar looking outfits but yes scouts in the country where I presently reside with my locally born wife and daughter (Costa Rica) do dress quite different (nice blue outfits) and I actually respect them very much.

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