Simon Bolivar’s Birthday
Celebrated as a national holiday in Venezuela and as a public holiday in Ecuador, Simón Bolívar’s Birthday commemorates the Venezuelan who played a key role in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela in gaining their independence from Spain.
Born Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios on July 24, 1783, in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, he would lead a charmed life but would go on to embrace the idea of gaining independence from colonial rule. In both Ecuador and Venezuela, this holiday is observed with military parades, colorful costumes, and a lot of good food.
The History of Simón Bolívar’s Birthday
Simón Bolívar was born into a wealthy and influential family. When he was 10 years old, both of his parents died, and he was placed under the tutelage of several different tutors. One of those tutors was Don Simón Rodríguez, who not only enlightened him but also instilled in him lofty notions of freedom and liberty. At the age of 16, he traveled to Europe to finish up his education.
He lived in Spain for a while and even married the daughter of a Spanish noble in 1802. He returned to Caracas with his wife, but she would end up dying from yellow fever just a little under a year later.
This prompted him to travel across Europe before returning to Caracas a few years later. Upon his return, he began to embrace the idea of Venezuelan independence from Spain, and in 1810, he joined a group of patriots dedicated to gaining independence from Spain.
He would end up recapturing Caracas from Spain in 1813 and in 1814 he captured Bogotá. Until 1819, he continued the struggle for Colombia — which included the areas now known as Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. In 1824, he liberated Peru, and all across the continent, Bolívar would become known as “The Liberator” or “El Libertador.”
Observing Simón Bolívar’s Birthday
In both Ecuador and Venezuela, this holiday is celebrated with parades, festivals, and concerts. It’s also celebrated with traditional feasts in each country. In Ecuador, that would be Llapingachos (stuffed and fried potato patties) and Churrasco (grilled steak with fried eggs, chips, and plantains). In Venezuela, that would be Pabellón Criollo (beef, rice, and plantains) and Hallacas (meat tamales).