The month of September is a busy and exciting time here in Honduras. Here, it is el Mes de la Patria, or Month of the Homeland, and everyone celebrates by showing pride for their country! It is not uncommon to see Honduran pride on a daily basis as many people wear shirts and other paraphernalia proclaiming their status as a Catracho/a (a word Hondurans use to describe themselves). However, during the month of September, this demonstration of pride is amped up even more.
There are four special celebrations throughout this month. It all starts on September 1st with Día de la Bandera (Flag Day). On this day, students and teachers gather to talk about the flag and its significance. Next, September 10th is Día del Niño (Children’s Day). There is no school on this day, but instead the children are celebrated with games, candy, and fun activities. After this is Día del Independencia (Independence Day) on September 15th. For this celebration, students gather at the school dressed in traditional Honduran clothing or clothing that represents their school to prepare for a parade around the city. Schools from around the area gather to march, cheer, and celebrate the country’s independence. Lastly, teachers are recognized on September 17th with Día del Maestro (Teacher’s Day). The students and teachers take the day off to rest, travel, and spend time with family.
Although there are four scheduled celebrations throughout this month of Honduran pride, many decide to observe the month in various other forms as well. For example, in the town square of Macualizo, Santa Barbara there are stands filled with games and delicious treats that stay up the entire month. And here at the Amigos de Jesús school, the kids celebrate by practicing and performing skits about Honduras once a week at our school assembly.
As this special month comes to a close, we wanted to commemorate this country and its greatness one last time. In an attempt to learn more specifically what those at Amigos de Jesús love about their country, several staff, employees, teachers, and children were asked two questions: Why are you proud to be Honduran? And what’s your favorite thing about Honduras? The responses to these questions varied, but together they form a beautiful picture of why Honduras is an exceptional place with such a rich culture.
Many of the children and adults alike explained that they love Honduras because it offers an abundance of natural beauty and resources. Other adults also commented on how they are proud of the tourist locations and their beauty. There is a sense of pride in the fact that Honduras has something special that appeals to the rest of the world. Although this country can be labelled for its violence and crime, it is also known for its breathtaking natural beauty, and many Hondurans are proud to live in a place that others want to visit.
Some, like one of our children, Calvin*, pointed out the obvious and said, “I’m proud to be Honduran, because I’m Honduran!” Regardless of where you are born, you have a connection to that place, because your family and friends are in that country. This also is true here in Honduras. In addition to a love for friends and family, many also commented on the “open” and “big” hearts of Hondurans in general. They appreciate they fellow countrymen’s generosity and willingness to help those around them.
Of course, what would a country be without its unique culture and traditions? Most interviewees touched on their love for the great culture here in Honduras, but one teacher took it one step further. She talked about the importance of putting Honduran cultural traditions into practice, because “they help us to identify with our country and are also what identify us as Hondurans.” A large part of this culture is the exceptional food. After tasting this food, it’s no surprise that most everyone said it is one of their favorite things about Honduras! One child, Lucio*, listed the traditional foods tamales and baleadas as some of his favorites, and I bet many would argue that these are some of the best!
Students and teachers in the special education classroom at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual school also participated in the parade. On the right, one of those students holds a sign saying, "People, like birds, are different in their flight but equal in their right to fly."
There were a few unique and sentimental answers to these questions separate from the responses about natural beauty, family, and culture. One of the older boys living at Amigos, Enzo*, stated that he’s proud of the country’s continual development while one young boy talked about his love for Honduran history and the national heroes like Lempira. And of course, you could never ask about national pride without someone mentioning soccer!
Honduras is one of a kind and the people of this country are clearly proud to call it home. Thanks for sharing your country with us, Catrachos! Happy Month of the Homeland, everyone!
*Names changed to protect privacy
- Rachel Youngberg, 2017-2018 ADJ Volunteer