Honduras celebrates a Honduran hero, the Lenca Indian Chief, Lempira. The Honduran currency is named after him, and his likeness is seen on the one lempira bill. Lempira was responsible for uniting various Lenca tribes to fight against the Spanish conquistadors in the early 1500’s.
In Gracias Lempira, the capital of the department named for Chief Lempira, and the home of the Lenca Indians, the day commemorating Lempira is a major event, and a boon to the local economy. Tourists come from all over Honduras to see a parade and to participate in other events, including a rodeo, concert, carnival, and a festival in the park, with many booths set up for vendors.
The parade in Gracias, Lempira this year has been cancelled, unfortunately, as many schools have not been in session, making it difficult for marching practice and artistic creations. In years past, however, the parade in Gracias represented a celebration of the entire heritage of the people of the Department of Lempira; it is more than just a recognition of the accomplishments of Chief Lempira. The parade celebrates the local Lenca Indian heritage, the Indian warriors who fought with Lempira, the agricultural lifestyle of the residents of this mountain area, the conquistadors, the Spanish missionaries, and the current ‘cowboy culture’.
All schools participated, and each school (or each grade within a school) portrayed a particular aspect of local history. One section of the parade even recognizes each municipality in the department by name. The costumes are handmade, and vary in sophistication. Fabulous creations come together using dried corn and beans, leather, feathers, palm fronds, and bits of terra cotta.
Although not quite as large, other festivals are taking place today, and the people of Honduras are enjoying the opportunity to come together in celebration of their National Hero. Click the following for more information on Chief Lempira of Honduras.