Juan Santamaria Day 2019

Costa Rica National Holiday in Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Juan Santamaria statue in Juan Santamaria Park in central Alajuela, Costa Rica

When is Juan Santamaria Day?

How long until Juan Santamaria Day?
This holiday next takes place in 114 Days.
Dates of Juan Santamaria Day
Year Weekday Date
2020 Saturday
2019 Thursday
2018 Wednesday
2017 Tuesday
2016 Monday
1 Day
Local Name
Día de Juan Santamaría
Juan Santa Maria was a Costa Rican soldier who is the national hero of Costa Rica

This public holiday in Costa Rica is always celebrated on 11 April.

The holiday commemorates the Battle of Rivas made famous by the heroic actions of the National Hero, Juan Santamaria.

History of Juan Santamaria Day

The Battle of Rivas took place in Rivas, Nicaragua between the  army lead by William Walker and Costa Rica's army lead by President Juan Rafael Mora Porras, General José Joaquín Mora Porras and General Jose Maria Cañas.

Walker was an American who had assumed control of Nicaragua and was amassing troops and consolidating his power in the region. Alarmed by his actions, Costa Rica declared war on Walker.

Walker's army was on the run after two battles with the Costa Rican army, when on 11 April 1856, they were confronted with nearly 700 Costa Rican troops in Rivas.

The two armies were fighting each other in a gruelling and bloody battle for over nine hours without either side gaining any decisive advantage, when Juan Santamaría, a Costa Rican drummer boy from Alajuela, volunteered to burn down the "El Mesón de Guerra", a building, in which Walker's troops  where gathered.

Santamaria threw a torch onto the thatched roof of Walker's stronghold, causing it to catch fire and his troops to flee. While he was successful in his mission and his actions enabled the Costa Ricans to win the battle, Santamaria was then killed by sniper fire.

For his sacrifice, he became recognised as a National Hero of Costa Rica.

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