Let's start with Independence Day. Here it's September 15th. We also realized that most of Central America celebrates it's Independence Day sometimes this week. Google's Homepage even featured Costa Rica and Honduras!
So the festivities kick off on the 14th. That day the kids brought in their faroles (lanterns) to school for judging. The preschool and nursery kids also had a parade around the school during the mid morning break, which was really fun.
Most of the schools in this area just have a drum line, so our kids marched around the campus to the high schools drum beat. You can tell Elliot was less than thrilled about it. Really, the whole thing was like watching somebody herding turtles!
Then at night, we headed back to school of the program and parade with the faroles lit up. We all marched around the block that school sits on and we even had a police escort to block traffic for us, because, well, pedestrians don't have the right of way here!
I tried my hardest to get some good shots of the parade at night in the dark, but with holding a farole (because yes, as you can imagine, with a 2 year old and a 4 year old, this event because about the parents doing the work, you know, sorta like carving pumpkins with preschoolers) and the hand of a 4 year old, I wasn't able to stay still long enough to prevent camera shake, but let's just pretend these are blurry in an on purpose, artistic sort of way, mmk? Thanks.
After the parade, the prices for the faroles were awarded. We didn't think the boys' lanterns were part of the competition, but Forrest's was and he won 2nd place in his age group of his! Not bad for a gringo! And the best part is, he really did create his lantern. He told me he wanted to have a blue ball. And then he wanted it to say Costa Rica and Forrest. He added a few car stickers and some streamers at the bottom. So he really won his prize.
Elliot's farole was the Irazu volcano, and while his wasn't in the competition, it was super cool! We made them out of wire from the hardware store, tissue paper, and used some sticks we found by the side of the road. Yeah, we are those sorts of people. Remember the bottle?
The next day, the whole country turns out for parades. We went to the local one just a few blocks from our house even though we heard that others were better. And what an experience! So, just for a second, think about the last time you were at a parade. You probably found a good view spot, brought a blanket or something to sit on, and settled in to take in the parade. Yeah, well, that's sorta what we did. And then people started walking around use, past us, in front of us. And we noticed that no one was up further than about a block from where the parade started. Strange.
At first I thought maybe all the movement was because the first groups were little tiny kids and the parents were walking with them up the street. But then the kids started to get progressively bigger and bigger and parents were still right beside them, handing them water, ice, holding an umbrella over them for shade. And before we knew it, the parade was done, and everyone was gone, because well, the whole town was part of the parade, moving at a turtle's pace up the street. So different!
What fun to participate in our host country's Independence Day!