Costa Rica News – Just when we are getting back into the flow of business again, Costa Rica is going to have another national holiday. Semana Santa was not enough time off so on April 11th, Costa Rica will celebrate Juan Santamaria Day.
Let’s go back in time 157 years. On April 11th the military of Costa Rica (which no longer exists) fought a guy named William Walker. Walker came from Tennessee to conquer all of the Central American countries to be used in a terrible way- as a holding place for slaves of the Southern Confederacy.
Being that Walker already had possession of Nicaragua, Costa Rican forces met his at Rivas, a city near the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. On this historical day back in 1856 the Rivas Battle occurred. It was not an easy one; in fact it was extremely harsh.
At the end General Mora had the idea of torching the Meson de Guerra which was Walker’s center of command. After two soldiers’ attempt to burn it down failed a poor and young farmer named Juan Santamaria appeared voluntarily and accomplished the task! Before being shot dead he was able to run with a torch and throw it into the building. Although Walker’s men escaped Costa Rica had at this point affirmed its sovereignty in the area.
There are some who believe Juan Santamaria didn’t die on this day. Whether he died at this point or later on from another cause it doesn’t change his status as a hero. He was the one who finished this one and only fight for Costa Rican independence. Every country needs a hero. This one is honored with his own holiday each April 11th.
As it is a national holiday, all businesses and services such as banking will be closed. Attend one of the parades or concerts in honor of Juan Santamaria, also known as the “barefoot soldier.” There will actually be festivals in Alajuela for the whole week, not just Thursday, featuring beauty pageants, cultural dance and food.