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Lempira Day – July 20, 2023

Lempira Day is on July 20. It is an annual Honduran festival named after a Lenca indigenous leader who led the struggle against the Spanish conquistadors in the 1530s. Chief Lempira gathered a 30,000-person army to fight the Spanish conquerors, but it proved unsuccessful. Despite the failure of the Lempira revolt, the Lenca leader is a recognized Honduran national hero. Lempira is on the one lempira note; the currency shares a name with one of the country’s 18 departments. Lempira Day is not a public holiday; however, it’s observed across Honduras, particularly in schools (most Honduran schools are in session in July).

History of Lempira Day

Lempira was a warrior king of Lenca, western Honduras, Central America. In the 1530s, he led the resistance against Francisco de Montejo’s attempts to conquer and incorporate the region into the Honduran province. On the orders of their Governor, Francisco de Montejo, the Spaniards assaulted Lempira at the Peol de Cirque, which is the present-day Lempira Department. Herrera reports that Lempira retreated to a mountain and fought the Spaniards for months. Finally, the Spaniards coaxed him out to speak, and a camouflaged Spanish soldier with an arquebus shot and killed him. When the Lenca saw this, they surrendered.

In the 1980s, Honduran historian Mario Felipe Martnez Castillo found a different version of Lempira in a document called Méritos y Servicios: Rodrigo Ruiz, Nueva Espaa, which was published in Mexico City in 1558. The document is located in Sevilla, Spain, at the Archivo General de Indias. Patronato 69 R.5 relates the history of Rodrigo Ruiz and his participation in Francisco Montejo’s conquest of Honduras. It includes his narrative of how he killed Lempira. The document is a series of questions answered by witnesses to Rodrigo Ruiz’s conquest of the Spanish king. He aimed to obtain a pension in exchange for his services.

Most of Honduras’ population lives in the country’s mountainous interior, which may explain the country’s relatively isolated policy toward Latin and Central American affairs. Honduras, like its neighbors in the region, is a developing country whose population faces several economic and social struggles ― a condition worsened by harsh topography and the occasional violence of tropical weather patterns, such as Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Lempira Day timeline

1931
Its Currency Gets a New Name

The Honduran currency is named after Lempira.

1943
The Lempira Department is Formed

The Gracias Department changes to the Lempira Department in Honduras.

1558
The Lempira Document is Written

Rodrigo Ruiz writes it in Mexico City; it includes the killing of Lempira.

1980s
The Honduran Historian Discovers Lempira’s Account

Mario Felipe Martnez Castillo discovers Lempira's account in a document named Méritos y Servicios.

Lempira Day FAQs

What is the Lempira named after?

The Lempira is named after cacique Lempira, a ruler of the indigenous Lenca people.

How secure is Honduras?

Honduras has a high degree of crime. The majority of serious crime, such as armed robbery and sexual assault, affects only foreigners. These assaults might happen at any time. People have been killed and injured defending themselves.

What is Honduras' national drink?

Pinol is both the national drink of Honduras and Nicaragua. It is a traditional drink made from powdered maize (corn), cocoa, agave or honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and various spices.

How to Observe Lempira Day

  1. Visit Honduras

    Take some time to visit Honduras. It is a lovely country, and you’d remember the experience.

  2. Learn about Honduras

    You can research to learn more about what the wonderful country of Honduras has to offer. You will discover plenty about the country you can enjoy.

  3. Participate in the activities

    You can join the Lempira Day Parade. It lasts for three hours; there are also air force flyovers and fireworks.

5 Interesting Facts About Honduras

  1. Honduras has a meaning

    Christopher Columbus named it after the deep waters surrounding the coast, which translates to “vast depths” in Spanish.

  2. It has massive reefs of coral

    Honduras is part of the world's second-largest coral reef, after the Great Barrier Reef.

  3. It has a dual capital

    Honduras has a twin capital ― Comayagüela and Tegucigalpa.

  4. It pioneered smoke-free zones

    Honduras was the first country to outlaw smoking in the house; moreover, smokers must keep a distance of six feet from nonsmokers.

  5. The world's oldest clock is there

    The Moors built the clock in 1100 A.D.; it’s in the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.

Why Lempira Day is Important

  1. The Honduran birdlife is sacred

    The Scarlet Macaw is Honduras' national bird and is considered sacred. We love nature and those who appreciate it.

  2. Its national animal is unique

    The white-tailed deer is one of two deer species living in the country. If you visit, it would be worthwhile to try and spot one.

  3. It has beautiful islands and coastlines

    Honduran Bay Islands are a group of islands off Honduras' coast. The southern Pacific Ocean shore is called the Gulf of Fonseca, and the northern Caribbean Sea coast is called the Gulf of Honduras.

Lempira Day dates

YearDateDay
2023July 20Thursday
2024July 20Saturday
2025July 20Sunday
2026July 20Monday
2027July 20Tuesday

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