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Lorena's Lanterns

By Arianna McKinney

When Lorena Rojas moved to San Fernando, Samara, fifteen years ago the local school wasn't very involved in celebrating Independence Day.

Lorena Rojas and her daughter Jaihzel prepare designs for the farol.

It was Lorena, along with her in-laws, who made faroles (traditional lanterns), sang along to the national anthem on TV and then paraded down the street with faroles for Independence Day. About four years later, the school teacher began integrating Independence Day activities more into the school.

Since then, Lorena has built a reputation for helping her two daughters make creative faroles, sharing her love for handicrafts. She sits with a placid smile at an old desk in front of her blue house with materials she and her daughters have gathered—red and yellow cellophane, lavender poster board and a piece of Styrofoam on which they have outlined in pencil a Guanacaste tree and the national flower, the Guaria Morada orchid.

Lorena explained that she believes it is important to inculcate participation and having fun with the traditional activity. Although she likes crafts in general, she says making faroles is different because of the motive and the excitement that they are going to participate in the procession at night with so many different faroles illuminated. "One celebrates for the homeland," she expressed, "that we are independent, that we are a free and independent country."

Her youngest daughter, 12-year-old Jaihzel, sixth grade, says she also likes making faroles and parading with them. She says she feels a special happiness to be participating and to see other faroles in different shapes and made from different materials. She also feels happy "to have such a province, a country that is identified by peace."

The entire family participates in making a different farol each year, using recycled materials and other supplies that they have on hand, never buying anything for the project. Lorena's husband helps with technical aspects, such as lighting the farol with Christmas lights instead of using a real candle. Lorena relates that many a farol has burned before finishing the parade route because of candles. However, they never save the faroles they have made. Instead they take them apart to see what materials they can reuse in the future, keeping the tradition alive.


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