El Desfile de Faroles and María Dolores Bedoya
The Lantern Parade On September 14, the Lantern Parade is held, made up of students from schools nationwide. Each school and college asks their students to create and decorate the lantern with which they will be parading
The Lantern Parade
On September 14, the Lantern Parade is held, made up of students from schools nationwide. Each school and college asks their students to create and decorate the lantern with which they will be parading at night. The parade begins at 6:00 pm, which symbolizes the time independence was announced on September 15.
The representation of the lanterns symbolizes the candle that María Dolores Bedoya made on September 14, 1821 in the streets of Antigua Guatemala, urging the people to gather outside the town hall where the independence of the Central American countries was discussed. Consequently, all the people of the town who supported independence were gathered in the plaza of Antigua Guatemala awaiting the verdict with lanterns.
Background and Independence from Spain
During the colonial period preceding the independence, Costa Rica along with Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and what is today the Mexican State of Chiapas, were part of the the Captaincy General of Guatemala which was an administrative division of the Viceroyalty on New Spain.
With Mexico defeating the Spanish Empire in the Mexican War of Independence, to its provinces also became independent including the Captaincy of Guatemala. With the independence of Mexico, the Guatemalan provinces made an assembly to decide whether or not to also declare independence.
In Guatemalan history, she is known to be the only female hero of the Independence of Guatemala . It is known that she made several demonstrations through the streets of Guatemala City, which encouraged the population to support the declaration of independence. She was born on September 20, 1783, in Guatemala.
In 1804, she married physician (and later politician and independence leader) Pedro Molina. They moved to Granada, Nicaragua, where Molina served as a battalion doctor until 1811; they returned to Guatemala in 1814.
Bedoya is remembered for her role in Central America’s quest for independence from the Spanish Empire. She is credited with mobilizing women to participate in the independence movement. She is said to have traveled the streets of Guatemala City on the eve of September 15, accompanied by Basilio Porras, to garner support for independence.
On September 15, 1821, while nobility gathered to debate the issue of independence, Bedoya led a celebration among a crowd of advocates outside the palace. With music, fireworks, and a lively crowd, Bedoya’s celebration is said to have spurred on the decision to sign for independence, as those inside the palace heard their noises and feared being attacked by the group.
Bedoya’s brother Mariano was assassinated in 1821; the Molina-Bedoya family left Guatemala City for Verapaz. Her husband later became Head of State of Guatemala, from 1823 to 1931.
The couple lived their remaining years in political exile in Antigua, Guatemala. Bedoya died in 1853 after suffering from a long-term illness.