Independence Day in Guatemala

Guatemalan Independence Day is a holiday observed annually on September 15th. It commemorates the country’s independence from Spanish rule in 1821 under the Act of Independence of Central America. This holiday is a public day in Guatemala, so the general population has the day off, and schools, businesses, and non-essential government offices are closed for the day.

It is also a day on which a variety of activities take place, including parades, concerts, plays, dance routines, street foods, and street parties. As with many holidays celebrating a country’s independence, there is a fireworks display at the end of the day.

The History of Guatemalan Independence Day

Although the region now known as Guatemala was once part of the Mayan civilization and home to various indigenous groups, the Spanish conquered the region during the first half of the 16th century, making the area a viceroyalty of New Spain.

This region remained under Spanish control for hundreds of years, but then their control began to weaken during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This was due to the Peninsular War in Europe, as well as local juntas revolting against the rule of King Joseph, the brother of Napoleon, who was installed as the ruler of Spain by the French in 1808.

Eventually, all of this came to a head, and on September 15th, 1821, the Act of Independence of Central America was declared by Guatemala. The region would briefly become part of the Mexican Empire, but in 1823, they seceded to become the Federal Republic of Central America.

Observing Guatemalan Independence Day

Since this is a public holiday, people have the day off, and many schools, businesses, and government offices are closed. It is a day for the people of Guatemala to show their patriotism and celebrate their freedom. As a result, the Guatemalan flag is raised everywhere possible, parades occur all across the country, and traditional marimba routines are performed in traditional dress.

Where is it celebrated?
Guatemala (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 15 Sunday
Next year (2025)
September 15 Monday
Last year (2023)
September 15 Friday