Lempira Day of Honduras

2019-07-20 Sat

Lempira Day is a Honduran holiday celebrated annually on July 20. It is dedicated to an indigenous leader of the Lenca people who led the resistance against the Spanish conquistadors in the 1530s.

In 1533, Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo received a royal decree that gave him permission to conquer certain parts of Honduras. He then attempted to conquer the territory inhabited by the Lencas in western Honduras.

Chief Lempira organized resistance against the Spanish conquerors and gathered an army of about 30,000 people. Unfortunately, the resistance was ultimately unsuccessful. The Spaniards lured Lempira out to talk and then shot him dead. After their leader’s death, the Lenca surrendered.

Although Lempira Day is not a public holiday, it is widely celebrated throughout in Honduras, especially in schools (most Honduran schools are in session in July). On this day, children dress up as indigenous Hondurans and prepare presentations of different ethnic groups. Lempira Day is more than a holiday dedicated to a national hero; it is a celebration of indigenous culture and heritage.

Despite the defeat of Lempira's uprising and the subsequent conquest of Honduras, the Lenca leader is considered a national hero of Honduras. The currency of Honduras and one of the country’s 18 departments were named after him. Besides, Lempira is portrayed on the 1 lempira note.

The obverse has the effigy of Indio Lempira, the national hero of Maya-Lenca origin, to right; National Coat of Arms - Escudo Nacional to left. The reverse depicts the Mayan ball game (pelota) and steps in the ruins of Copan; One of Copan stelae - Estela "A" depicting Waxaklajuun Ub'aah K'awiil (732 A.D.).

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