On September 15, 1821 Costa Rica and the rest of Central America gained independence from the Spanish Empire after spending nearly three centuries under their rule. Unfortunately though, much like the guy from Cable Tica that was supposed to come fix your modem, news of Costa Rica’s newly acquired independence would arrive a full month late.

Unlike other independence declarations, the Central American states luckily didn’t have to put up much of a fight much for theirs. Due to Spain being occupied with freeing their own country from French occupation, by the time the Central American delegation presented the Spanish Empire with their own declaration they basically responded by saying they were already over them.

Traditional Independence Celebrations in Costa Rica begin on the evening of the 14th where school children are paraded around town while holding ridiculous looking lanterns that their parents made for them in what is known as the “Desfile de Faroles”.

On the actual day itself streets are filled with children again, this time dressed in colorful traditional garb while performing folkloric dances while a few parents rudely push everyone out of the way to snap pictures of them with their iPhones.

If you’re interested in food and local cuisine, the Independence Day celebrations are a great opportunity for visitors to try some genuine Costa Rican dishes such as Pupusas, Vigorón and Chop Suey.

For those of you who wish to watch the parades, The Costa Rica Post recommends bringing the following items:

  • camera
  • umbrella
  • 3⁄4 cup Cacique Guaro
  • 3 cups Tomato Juice
  • 1⁄2 cup Lemon Juice
  • 3 tbsp Tabasco

However you choose to celebrate, stay safe, have fun and don’t drink and drive!