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Many of the Central American countries celebrate Independence Day each year on September 15th.   In Costa Rica, the communities gather at sunset  on September 14th and watch the schoolchildren light their lanterns and sing the national anthem.  This annual custom reenacts the story of the pilgrimage to Mexico to declare Independence from Spain, and the journey back to announce the victory.  The final stretch was by night, and the lanterns are now Costa Rica’s annual symbols for freedom.

Using the lanterns to light their way, the villagers of Pueblo Nuevo (where I once lived) walk toward the village of Bejuco, while the children and adults of Bejuco walk toward Pueblo.  

Several miles away, children from the village of la Javilla have their ceremony at their petite school, then march to Playa San Miguel, where the locals anxiously await at the intersection to the beach!  

How magical it is to see the lights through the darkness, as the  procession grows closer and closer!  Most years the rain gods hold back the downpours, although the finale is usually a race home to beat the approaching storm!

This photo challenge is from This Man’s Journey/ the Weekly Image of Life. Perhaps I’ll be in Costa Rica for this year’s celebration f lanterns!  (The bonus would be seeing those olive ridley sea turtles!)