Only July 25 Costa Ricans commemorate the 1824 annexation of the Partido de Nicoya, a major portion of Guanacaste Province. The national holiday, known as Guanacaste Day, is celebrated throughout the country with parties, parades, public dances, traditional costumes and of course, bullfights.
Guanacaste Day has deep significance for all of Costa Rica’s citizens. It speaks strongly to their innate sense of self determination.
In 1821 the nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras, once controlled by Spain, all declared themselves independent nations. At the time, most of Guanacaste belonged to Nicaragua.
Shortly after declaring independence, Nicaragua fell into a protracted and bloody civil war. The fighting never reached down into the Nicoya region, and within a year the people there requested they be annexed and made part of Costa Rica, a peaceful, Democratic nation.
Since that day, the coat of arms of Nicoya states: “De la patria por nuestra voluntad.” Or, “Part of the country because of our own will.”
Happy Annexation Day!