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Revolution Day

Revolution Day 2019 and 2020

Revolution Day is observed every 20 October in Guatemala. It looks back to the day in 1944 when a group of students, teachers, and others united to overthrow the decade-long dictatorship of Jorge Ubico y Castaneda.

201921 OctMonRevolution Day Holiday
202020 OctTueRevolution Day

The protests in 1944 began on 30 June, when teachers demanded a wage increase and refused to take part in the Teachers Day Parade. This was in response to the happenings of the day before, 29 June, when 200 protesters were killed by a cavalry unit in Central Square in Guatemala City, the capital.

Soon, a wave of strikes forced the dictator to resign, but he handed power to his generals. Then a farce of an election was scheduled to try to legitimise the same basic regime staying in control. But on 22 October 1944, a revolt ended that attempt and brought truly democratic reform to Guatemala.

The decade after 1944 was a time of great progress, but many feel things are still not what they should be. Thus, on Revolution Day, thousands of people gather and protest what they feel are continuing injustices. Others persist in trying to find out “the real truth” about some 200,000 who “vanished” during the Guatemalan Civil War. While many others just enjoy the day off work and celebrate by blasting out loud music in public, shooting off fireworks, or attending various Revolution Day events.