Independence of Guatemala: the images that show how the national fervor was lived long years before the pandemic

The civic parades of Independence have been present in the history of the Republic of Guatemala since the 20th century. The activities have been characterized by being carried out in public spaces and by exalting a patriotic feeling of the attendees.

During the mandate of the dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera, parades became fashionable in order to commemorate the national deeds.

In general, it has been students from colleges and schools who give life to the parades. They have been seen in musical ensembles or performing marches and choreographies.

It is also worth remembering the night before September 15, when people run for the transfer of the Torch of Independence.

This event recalls the stretch that independence informants followed to communicate the news in Central America, after political autonomy in the region had been made official.

This event, like the parades on September 15, have been held in different parts of the country and Central America.

However, it is an event that for now is part of the collective memory. Due to the expansion of the covid-19, from 2020 mass activities were suspended, including parades and patriotic tours.

An image from 1969 shows several students who attended the transfer of the Independence torch on the night of September 14. (Free Press Photo: Hemeroteca PL)

This year, the Minister of Culture and Sports, Felipe Aguilar, announced that the provisions continued in such a way, as a way of preventing contagion from covid-19.

In a press conference broadcast on August 30 of this year, the minister pointed out that all celebrations around the Bicentennial of Independence, such as parades or social gatherings, were suspended, as well as in 2020.

In the absence of these events for a consecutive year, we remember some passages from the past:

The September 15, 1969 edition of Prensa Libre opened with a sample of the civic celebration in the city. On the cover you could see different members of army bands, schoolchildren and the public that would have gathered in front of the National Palace of Culture to pay tribute to the national pavilion.

(Free Press Photo: Hemeroteca PL)

On the morning of September 14, 1970, Colonel Carlos Ramón Galich López, president of the interventionist commission of the volunteer firefighters, lit the torch of freedom. The act was carried out on the monument to the Heroes of Independence.

(Free Press Photo: Hemeroteca PL)

A stamp from the sixties recalls how prior to the celebration of independence, a Te Deum was held in the metropolitan cathedral with public officials, members of the diplomatic corps, special guests and Catholic parishioners.

(Free Press Photo: Hemeroteca PL)

A surprising fact arose in 1970 when five assistants of the patriotic celebrations in Central Park were injured by some flying bombs that were thrown. According to statements provided by firefighters to this medium at that time, the bombs had not reached a necessary height and exploded near the public that was located in front of the National Palace of Culture.

(Free Press Photo: Hemeroteca PL)

Despite certain events that occurred around the September 15 celebrations, the memory of the patriotic outpouring is present in the memory of many Guatemalans. Such is the case of the 1960 parade in which, as a treat, floats and batonists from the Guatemala Institute and the Chinese colony marched in the city.

(Free Press Photo: Hemeroteca PL)

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