Every afternoon and night in the first weeks of August you could hear it. The pounding. It was constant and almost calming. The sound moved throughout El Sauce, but no one ever mentioned it's presence. It was as normal as the birds chirping and dogs barking. After two weeks, you became numb to it.
This pounding was the sound of children of all ages practicing at their schools. They were preparing for the parade on September 14th to commemorate the Battle of San Jacinto. This battle was the turning point in the National war against American William Walker in 1856. The Nicaraguans successfully united to defend their country. Marching bands from more than 10 schools practiced tirelessly for the parade, and their practice paid off. The parade was magical. Students, dressed in traditional clothing, twirled batons, beat snare drums, and blew trumpets
Students also carried symbols of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, meant to remember September 15th, 1821. On this day, these five countries declared independence from the Spanish empire and briefly created the Captaincy General of Guatemala before each declaring individual independence. This day brought the end of almost three centuries of colonial rule and exploitation. Central America was putting Hernan Cortes and the Spanish Empire behind them and moving forward. These countries rose to challenge the Spanish Empire at their weakest (the Spanish were fighting the Peninsular Wars at the time) and overcame the oppressive regime.
Every year, the Nicaraguans celebrate their Independence Day on the 14th and 15th of September.
Parades, music, Nicaraguan flags and the smell of delicious food filled the air for the weekend, as the Nicaraguans rightfully exude pride in their country. The parents of the students who’ve practiced for weeks walk with their children through the streets filled with pride for their children and patria (pride for their country). The week following these exciting days was almost eerily silent. You could no longer hear the marching bands practicing in their schools; no longer feel the energy and anticipation. However, I know it won’t be long until I hear them preparing for their next parade.