August 16, 2009

Day of the Child

Today is The Day of the Child (Dia del Niño) in Paraguay. I had no idea it's such a big day, but it's been a bit like Christmas around here. Friday, we were invited to a school celebration, where a few moms cooked a yummy noodle dinner and one of the teachers made a spectacular cake. A lady from town who is unable to have children of her own, came out to deliver toys to each student. What excitement when the boxes were pulled out of their car and the children were told to line up!

Unfortunately, this holiday has a sad origin. August 16 is the day of the Battle of Acosta Ñu, from the 5-year long Triple Alliance War. Paraguay's men were almost all dead, and the Brazilian army was carrying out atrocities against the Paraguayans that remained. The Brazilians had not only burned hospitals and health posts, but also the woods wherein many mothers, children, and elderly had fled. The leader, Mariscal Lopez, called for children to fight, and 3,500 of them from ages six to fifteen fought in this battle against Brazil's 20,000 soldiers. The holiday now honors the bravery and sacrifice of these children who died in the battle. Click for pictures of the school celebration...

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