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Everybody Fiesta: A Unit on Hispanic Celebrations

 Dia de la Independencia

What is el Dia de la Independencia?

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 because this day marks the anniversary of independence for five Hispanic countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico achieved independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.

Country Date Holiday
Argentina May 25 (1810) Revolution Day
Bolivia August 6 (1825) Independence Day
Chile September 18 (1810) Independence Day
Colombia July 20 (1810) Independence Day
Costa Rica September 15 (1821) Independence Day
Cuba January 1 (1959) Liberation Day
Dominican Republic February 27 (1844) Independence Day
Ecuador August 10 (1809) Independence Day
El Salvador September 15 (1821) Independence Day
Guatemala September 15 (1821) Independence Day
Honduras September 15 (1821) Independence Day
Mexico September 16 (1810) Independence Day
Nicaragua September 15 (1821) Independence Day
Panama November 3 (1903) Independence Day
Paraguay May 14-15 (1811) Independence Days
Peru July 28 (1821) Independence Day
Puerto Rico July 4 (1776) U.S. Independence Day*
Spain October 12 National Day
Uruguay August 25 (1828) Independence Day
Venezuela July 5 (1811) Independence Day



Students will realize that countries have celebrations unique to them.


* Students will demonstrate their understanding of the concept of tradition.


* Students will identify a family tradition that is important to each of them.


* Students will demonstrate their understanding of the concept of independence

Time Required:  

4 to 5 days


Independence, traditions


*map of  Hispanic Countries

* construction paper for flags and decorations

* ingredients for recipes and cooking supplies

* member of the community to teach a dance


  • Tell the students a story of a tradition that you have been a part of during your life. Give lots of details so that they can picture what it was like. Ask students to identify a few traditions that they are familiar with. Write the ideas on the board.
  • Explain that different countries have holidays with which we may be unfamiliar. In Hispanic countries, holidays are called festivals or fiestas. Tell what a fiesta is and some ways they are celebrated. Show the students where the Hispanic countries are on the map. Briefly describe the countries. An example of a fiesta in Hispanic countries is  Independence Day. Explain to the students that just as the United States has reasons from history as to why we celebrate our independence, so do other countries. Put the name of the holiday and the corresponding date on the board. (Refer to table above)
  • Have each child think of reasons why a country would want to have independence or freedom from another country. (e.g., religious freedom, different governing, values). Have the students pair up and share their ideas with their teammate. Invite some students to share more broadly with the whole class.
  • Explain to the students the history of each Hispanic countries revolt. Tell the events that led up to the war and how the war was started. Explain who where the important figures. 
  • Review information regarding fiestas. Explain the events that take place in the Hispanic countries on the Eve of Independence Day and on  Independence Day. Define the concept of tradition (an event or thing that is carried out or acted upon each year at the same time). Ask the students what they do every year the same way. Give examples of traditions, Christmas activities, Thanksgiving, Easter, Birthdays, Anniversaries. Share a story of a personal tradition. Have the students write a story of a tradition that they have. Choose several students to share their story with the class.
  • The colors of the different country's flag each symbolize something to the  people. For example the Mexican flag: The green symbolizes independence, white symbolizes religion, and red symbolizes union. Talk about how things are decorated in these colors for the fiesta, for example: flags, flowers, lights, confetti, noise makers. Have the students make one of these items as if it were for a decoration for a town square on Independence Day. Display the items made as decorations in the classroom. Remind the students what each color symbolizes.
  • Have a  Independence Day celebration in the classroom. Have the students make typical foods. They can wear the colors of the country's flag. Have a member of the community come into the classroom and teach the students something about their culture. 
  • Students choose a country they would like to research.  After compiling information, the students will create a slideshow depicting 5 important facts about that country's Independence Day.


Country Study Slideshow presentation Rubric

Extension Activities:  

What is the difference between el Dia de la Independencia and el Cinco de Mayo? Read this article and tell why "El Grito" (The Cry)

Home Learning:

Using a venn diagram compare and contrast two different countries celebration of Independence Day.



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