Costa Rican Independence Day Celebration

History Teacher Life

Every year, on September 15th, Costa Rica celebrates its independence and this year marked 197 years of a free and independent Costa Rica.

At Idioma Internacional, we have a celebration each year to mark this historic event and celebrate the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle we enjoy living and working in beautiful Costa Rica.

Each year, we eat the traditional tamal, wear a chonete and pañuelo and listen to the folklore and the history of the different important events that shaped Costa Rica’s becoming an independent and autonomous nation.

This year was even more special for two reasons. First, we currently have 3 classes at our office on Fridays: two classes of 11 Costa Rican youth with a socio-educational project we work on with Fundación Monge and a private class with 2 professional adults. So this year we were able to invite our Tico students to our celebration for a truly multicultural event.

Second, we had a surprise competition where our Idioma teachers were teamed up with our Tico students and charged with making a farol, or lantern, that symbolizes part of the lore of Costa Rican independence. Faroles are central to the Costa Rican independence day experience as Tico kids create them in school every year growing up.

We divided into mixed teams of foreign teachers and Tico students and got right to work! We had only 30 minutes to construct a farol that would be judged by the following criteria: a) representation of Costa Rica; b) use of materials; c) ability to be illuminated; d) creativity; e) ability to hold up/durability for use.

We put on some typical Costa Rican music and started cutting, pasting, laughing and attempting to create the best farol of the group. With a prize ready for the winning team, the stakes were high!

After 30 minutes, our time was up; we were asked to drop our scissors and glue sticks and step away from the table. Competition was now on!

One by one, each team explained their process and farol and showcased it to the group and the panel of Tico judges from our Idioma team, made up of Martin, Diana, Wilberth and Charlyn.

While all groups did a great job, and creativity was certainly not lacking, there was one team in particular that stood out as the clear winner. Team ‘Choza’ with Sarah, Lintonia, Fredman and Alexis won with their farol!

The entire morning and celebration were very special and it was a half-day event filled with culture, food, music, merriment and making connections with people of different ages, nationalities, backgrounds and experiences.

That afternoon, one of our adult students took some time to send along her gratitude for the event. Her words truly sum up the spirit of the day, and the spirit by which we live and work as a team at Idioma Internacional:

Muchísimas gracias por invitarme hoy a la actividad de Idioma, me encantó. Muchas gracias a todos ustedes por devolverme la alegría y sentirme agradecida por el país que me vio nacer.

Felicito al equipo por el gran trabajo, en Idioma Internacional se siente el amor, cariño y dedicación para hacer las cosas de verdad que los felicito. Que viva Costa Rica!

-Brendan Mulhall

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