Every July 25 Costa Rica celebrates the anniversary of the day when the Partido de Nicoya, today known as Guanacaste, became a part of Costa Rica in 1824.
The festival does not commemorate a battle
The Annexation Festival is not a celebration of a violent takeover, but rather the commemoration of an autonomous canton’s peaceful decision to join the Costa Rican nation.
The Partido de Nicoya included lands located between La Flor River and Nicaragua Lake. That area was very independent and usually responded, as to civil and administrative matters, to the Captaincy General of Guatemala.
With the independence of Central America in 1821, the Party of Nicoya considered an invitation made by Costa Rica to annex its territory.
After deliberations, the Party of Nicoya, through an open council that brought its inhabitants together, accepted the invitation to annex to Costa Rica and indicated that schools should be created and they should provide protection to their lands, because, as indicated, they only had 26 broken rifles.
The Annexation Act was signed on July 25, 1824 by Manuel Cupertino Briceño, Nicoya Mayor, and aldermen Torivio Viales, Ubaldo Martinez, and Manuel García. The head of the Costa Rican government at the time was Juan Mora Fernández.
Guanacaste culture is all about the sabaneros
Before Guanacaste beaches became renowned travel destinations, the region was known for its farms and ranches. Today, the iconic Guanacaste cowboy — or sabanero — continues to exert a huge influence on local culture.
Cowboy hats and blue jeans are the requisite attire for a Guanacaste celebration, and Tico-style bullfights — where the bull is not killed, but ridden and then taunted by a giant crowd — are a fixture in the region.
It’s also not uncommon to see Ticos celebrating on horseback. Don’t be surprised to roll up to a local taberna and find a bunch of cowboys parked out front on their horses, living it up.