The Paraguay Independence Day celebration starts on May 14 and ends the following day. Paraguay’s de facto independence began on May 14, 1811, when a local ruling ‘junta’ was established following the May 14 Revolution. This festival — known in Spanish as ‘Da de la Independencia Nacional’ — commemorates Paraguay’s independence from Spain. The two-day celebrations involve outdoor gatherings of loved ones to play soccer, listen to local music, and host barbeques and traditional drinks that pay homage to Paraguay’s cultural history.
History of Paraguay Independence Day
The Spanish were the first to colonize Paraguay in the 16th century. On Ascension Day in 1537, the Spanish founded Asunción — which is now the capital of Paraguay. In 1776, King Carlos III of Spain established the Viceroyalty of the Ro de la Plata, with Buenos Aires as its seat. In 1782, a municipal system was established. Asuncion was the sole town granted city status in Paraguay’s municipality. The British Empire sought to gain control of the Viceroyalty during the Napoleonic Peninsular War by staging the River Plate assaults in 1806 and 1807, seizing Buenos Aires and surrounding areas of the Ro de la Plata. During the invasions, Paraguayan forces led by Governor Velasco fought in the battles of Montevideo.
A porteo plot to grab power in Asuncion was discovered in September 1810. Porteos intended to expand their power over the entire former Viceroyalty, so Buenos Aires dispatched troops under General Manuel Belgrano to take the Paraguay province in September 1810, but they were defeated in the early months of 1811. The Junta — which comprised of governor Velasco, local politician Francia, and Spanish-born officer Zeballos — reigned until the First National Congress convened on June 17, 1811.
The new Junta Superior Gubernativa, commanded by Yegros, was approved by Congress. The junta wrote to Buenos Aires on July 20, 1811, proclaiming Paraguay’s desire for independence and proposing a confederation of sovereign republics. A short-lived confederation contract was concluded with Buenos Aires on October 12, 1811. When the Paraguayan Republic was declared on October 12, 1813, Congress enacted a new Constitution.
Paraguay Independence Day timeline
A three-man ruling ‘junta' is formed, which includes Velasco — this marks the beginning of Paraguay's independence.
The Republic of Paraguay is established on October 12.
The first public library in Paraguay is established.
President Rodriguez implements changes, including the abolition of the death penalty.
Paraguay Independence Day FAQs
Are the people of Paraguay friendly?
Paraguayans are kind, warm, and hospitable thanks to a mix of indigenous Guarani Indian culture and Spanish conquistadors.
What is the origin of the name Paraguay?
The Paraguay River gave the country its name.
What religion does Paraguay practice?
In Paraguay, Christianity is the most widely practiced religion.
How to Observe Paraguay Independence Day
Take a trip to Paraguay
Paraguay's Independence Day is commemorated in a variety of ways across the country. Visit the heart of America and enjoy the parades, fireworks, and concerts among the events held.
Prepare a Paraguayan meal
Being unable to attend the parade should not stop you from celebrating. Prepare traditional Paraguayan foods such as Sopa Paraguayan and corn. You can kick the celebration up a notch with mate, an indigenous beverage, or combine wine and cola — a Paraguayan classic.
Read up on Paraguay's history
Join in the celebration by reading up on Paraguay's history. Educate yourself on its origin story, its fight for independence, and the many monumental occasions that define Paraguay.
5 Interesting Facts About Paraguay
Paraguay's national motto is "Peace and Justice."
Biggest feline in America
America's biggest feline is found in Paraguay.
Largest water reserve
Paraguay is home to the largest water reserve in the world.
The heart of America
The ‘Corazón de América’— ‘the Heart of America’ — is Paraguay's nickname.
Two national flags
Paraguay is the only country in the world with two national flags — one on each side.
Why Paraguay Independence Day is Important
Paraguay is thrumming with wildlife
This little-visited corner of South America, a region of farming, forest, and legend, exudes a sense of mystery. Landlocked Paraguay features a diverse range of fauna, including jaguars, pumas, and tapirs, as well as trees teeming with twittering birds.
Its local cuisine is excellent
Paraguayan food is nearly typically made with two abundant staples — cassava and corn. ‘Chipá,’ ‘bor bor,’ and ‘kivevé’ are among the nation's favorite meals, which can be found on menus ranging from food trucks to high-end restaurants.
It hosts amazing festivals
Festivals are an important component of Paraguay's national character, as they are in much of South America. Every spring, just before Lent, a form of Carnaval erupts on the streets of Encarnación, often known as the ‘Pearl of the South.’ It is a celebration of glitz, glamor, and rhythmic beats led by women dressed in feathers and sparkly costumes throughout multiple weekends in February.
Paraguay Independence Day dates