On September 15th, SFS Costa Rica students enjoyed the parades in the town of Atenas, in celebration of the 195th anniversary of Costa Rica’s independence.
In Costa Rica, the parades are unique in the sense that they are not military displays of force; rather, they are carried out by local schools, and the celebration places emphasis on children. From major cities to small towns, everyone celebrates the independence. Thus, our students went to town to observe the parades, exchange experiences with the locals, and have lunch in many of the places open for the occasion. The whole town of Atenas participates–people sell food in the parks, have BBQs, and in general spend time with family and friends.
Students also took advantage of the opportunity to read in between the lines and see how Independence Day is celebrated in comparison with the celebration in the US. In Costa Rica small schools organize marching bands, folk dances, and floats with messages ranging from biodiversity preservation, peace, international understanding to the appreciation of Costa Rican values and ways to make a living, like maintaining a sustainable relationship with nature through agriculture and forestry. It is always quite a wonderful cultural experience.