Every 6 August in Bolivia is National Day, also known as Independence Day or Homeland (“Patria”) Day. The date of National Day was chosen because it was on that day that the Battle of Ayachucho was won, which was the single most decisive battle in securing fully and finally Bolivia’s independence.
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The country of Bolivia became independent gradually, little by little, rather than by a single declaration or single battle. But National Day binds the nation together in a common celebration of all that Bolivia stands for.
Interestingly, each of the nine Bolivian states has its own regional independence day as well, the day on which the decisive battle was won that led to that region escaping from Imperial Spanish rule.
The main National Day celebrations had always been held in Sucre in the past. But beginning in 2010, they have been rotated from city to city annually. Events include: military parades, other parades through city streets, special school events, a special session of the Bolivian congress, and a speech by the Bolivian president on the state of the union.
There is also a patriotic Roman Catholic mass held at the main cathedral of the city in which the festivities occur that year. Interdenominational and indigenous religious services are also held.
Flowers are often arranged and left on the main monument of the city’s main plaza after the church and religious services. And a major event that also takes place in the plaza is the raising of the national flag amid the playing of the national anthem by a Bolivian military band.