Juan Santamaria Day in Costa Rica in 2025

Juan Santamaria Day in Costa Rica in 2025
  How long until Juan Santamaria Day?
Juan Santamaria Day
  Dates of Juan Santamaria Day in Costa Rica
2025 Costa Rica Fri, Apr 11 National Holiday
2024 Costa Rica Thu, Apr 11 National Holiday
2023 Costa Rica Mon, Apr 10 National Holiday
2022 Costa Rica Mon, Apr 11 National Holiday
2021 Costa Rica Sun, Apr 11 National Holiday

Juan Santamaria was a Costa Rican soldier who is the national hero of Costa Rica due to his heroic actions on April 11th 1856 in the Battle of Rivas

  Local name
Día de Juan Santamaría

When is Juan Santamaria Day?

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

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

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 led 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 April 11th 1856, they were confronted with nearly 700 Costa Rican troops in Rivas.

The two armies were fighting each other in a grueling 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. The son of a single mother, Santamaria volunteered for the charge, with the condition that someone would look after his mother if he died.

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.

His heroics were the defining factor in the Costa Rican victory at Rivas. For his sacrifice, he became recognised as a National Hero of Costa Rica.

Juan Santamaria is a household name in Costa Rica. He is considered a national hero and his legacy still endures well over a century after his death. A statue, famous paintings, literature, and even an airport bear his name The country’s main international airport is named after him, the Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría, though it is more commonly known as the San Jose airport (SJO).

How is Juan Santamaria Day Celebrated

It is a holiday off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. However, the celebrations tend to last for the entire week leading up to it, especially in the city of Alajuela.

These celebrations involve parades, concerts, and dances. Usually, the president gives a speech to commemorate Juan Santamaria and to celebrate his achievements.

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