About Homeland, Lanterns, Parades and Independence in Costa Rica

Desfile realizado en Aguas Zarcas, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Imagen en Flickr del usuario  Allan Javier Aguilar Castillo (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Parade organized in Aguas Zarcas, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Image on Flickr by user Allan Javier Aguilar Castillo (CC BY-SA 2.0).

On her blog Anchas Alamedas, Solentiname remembers how she used to spend Costa Rica independence day, September 15, when she was a schoogirl, and the parades with lanterns and flags:

Teníamos estandarte y era un honor reservado para los mejores estudiantes de todo el colegio y solo tres: el que lo llevaba y dos a cada lado, que además quisieran quedarse practicando después de clases en la cancha de basketball el izquier dos tres cuatro.

Teníamos bastoneras. Las más lindas de cada nivel eran las bastoneras. Podían mover el bastón igual que las muchachas que veíamos en la tele y usaban uniformes de enaguas cortas y voladas, hombreras militares y sombreros de circo. Y las botas. Unas botas lindísimas con tiritas y botones dorados.
El año en que el Ministerio decidió imponer por la fuerza el uniforme único, nos advirtió que al desfile iban todos de celeste y azul o no íbamos. Fuimos, pero con el uniforme de gala que ese año se diseño aun exuberante. […] Como resultado, nos castigaron por cinco años en los que no pudimos participar en nada, solo como pelotón común y corriente y, por supuesto, vestidos de azul y de celeste.

We had standard and it was an honor reserved for the best students of the whole school, just three: the one who carried it and two by each sides, that would want to stay practicing after school in the basketball field the “left, two three four”.

We had baton twirlers. The prettiest girls of each class were the baton twirlers. They could handle the baton just as the girls we saw on TV and wore uniforms of short skirts, military shoulder pads and circus hats. And the boots. The prettiest boots with golden strips and buttons.
The year the Ministry decided to impose by force the same uniform for everybody, we were warned that for the parade we must wear the light blue and the blue, or we shouldn't go at all. We went, but in our full uniform, that that year had still a lush design. […] As a result, we were punished for five years during which we weren't able to participate in anything, just as a regular platoon and, of course, wearing the light blue and the blue.

She ends up with a nostalgic reflection about the idea of homeland:

15 de setiembre no me despierta la noción de patria, ya ni siquiera para reclamar una independencia verdadera. Apenas me vuelve aquella sensación de tostamiento e insolación, la participación forzada y un terrible cansancio y, cada año, dedico un ratito del día feriado a imaginar en detalle el farolito ingenioso que hubiera hecho y lo lindo que se hubiera visto encendido una noche de lluvia, la víspera de la independencia de Centroamérica.

September 15 doesn't make me feel the idea of homeland, not even to claim a true independence. I just feel again that sensation of tan and sunstroke, the forced participation and a terrible fatigue and, every year, I dedicate a little moment of the holiday to imagine in detail the ingenious lantern I'd have made and how beautifully lit it would be during a rainy night, on the eve of the independence of Central America.

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