by Dawn Ponder

Capital: Tegucigalpa

A Brief History
Tegucigalpa was founded on September 29, 1578 by Spanish settlers on the site of an existing settlement. The city served as a mining center for silver and gold and didn’t become the official capital of the independent Republic of Honduras until 1880. Before that the capital had alternated between Tegucigalpa and Comayagua.

A saga that has become popular states that the people of Comayagua publicly disliked the wife of President Marco Aurelio Solo, who took revenge on the city by moving the capital to Tegucigalpa. It’s more likely that the capital was settled in Tegucigalpa because President Soto was heavily involved in the Rosario Mining Company located in San Juancito.

Immigration from the rural areas didn’t begin in earnest until the 1970s, and Tegucigalpa remained relatively small and provincial until then. During the 1980s, the city expanded creating several avenues, traffic overpasses, and large buildings. Tegucigalpa is continuously spreading out beyond its original settlement, constructing a large but chaotic metropolis.

  • barrios.jpg

Tegucigalpa today is separated into “barrios” and “colonias.” Barrios are old inner-city neighborhoods and colonias are somewhat new 20th-century middle class suburban neighborhoods that are continuously spreading. The suburbs of the city are “barrios marginales,” basically shantytowns that the poorest of society live in.

Traditional Holidays

January 1 New Year’s Day
January 6 Three Wise Men Day
February 1-3 Our Lady of Suyapa
March 19 Father’s Day
April 1 Maundy Thursday
April 2 Good Friday
April 4 Easter
April 14 Day of the Americas
May 1 Labor Day/May Day
May 9 Mother’s Day
September 10 Children’s Day
September 15 Independence Day
September 17 Teacher’s Day
October 3 Moranzan’s Day
October 12 Columbus Day
October 21 Army’s Day
December 25 Christmas
December 31 New Year’s Eve

Throughout the entire year Hondurans celebrate national holidays and events in their town through carnivals, fairs and parades. One major fair, “San Isidro Fair,” is held yearly at the end of May in La Ceiba. It lasts one week and consists of cultural activities, music, float parades, exhibitions, special food and it ends with the “Gran Carnaval de La Amistad” meaning “The Carnival of Friendship.” The last event turns the main street of the city into a giant dance floor with a live band in every corner and people dance till dawn.

Honduras Independence Day is celebrated on September 15 and is the most popular official holiday. Schools and colleges take part in special parades all over the country to commemorate this day. In some events, the biggest companies participate by adorning the parades with chariots.

Honduras is a primarily Catholic country and therefore pays particular attention to the celebration during Holy Week. In some provinces, such as Comayagua, Choluteca, Copán and Intibucá, there are processions held during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Catholic Hondurans, through these events, honor the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for the human race. Residents of the North and South Coast will often use this time to visit beaches, rivers, and swimming pools, due to the smothering heat that takes over during this time of the year.

Hondurans celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve by cooking special dishes marking the important occasion. There are many favorites, such as: tamales, wrapped with banana leaves, roasted pigs’ legs and pastries. Each celebration is completed with fireworks and firecrackers.

Indigenous People

The CIA World Factbooklists Honduras as having a population of 7.48 million people; ninety percent of the Honduran population is Mestizo (a mixture of Amerindian and European ancestry; seven percent are Amerindian, two percent are black and one percent is white.
About 7% of the Honduran population are members of one of the seven recognized indigenous groups. The Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH) and the government of Honduras count seven different indigenous groups (wikipedia):

· the Ch'orti', a Mayan group living in the northwest on the border with Guatemala;
· the Garifuna speaking an Arawakan language. They live along the entire Caribbean coastline of Honduras, and in the Bay Islands;
· the Pech or Paya Indians living in a small area in the Olancho department;
· the Tolupan (also called Jicaque, "Xicaque", or Tol), living in the Department of Yoro and in the reserve of the Montaña de la Flor and parts of the department of Yoro;
· the Lenca Indians living in the Valle and Choluteca departments;
· the Miskito Indians living on the northeast coast along the border with Nicaragua.

  • Dance: Punta
Punta is a form of Garinagu dance music and is the most popular dance in Garifuna culture.
Traditional punta is performed around holidays, celebrations, festive occasions or other social events. The lyrics of punta are normally composed by women. Contemporary punta, which includes the Belizean form puna rock, has developed over the last 30 years largely by Garifuna musicians.

The word “punta” is likely derived from West Africa through an archaic beat called bunda, or “buttocks” in the Mandé language, and formerly a fertility dance. The punta dance is sometimes called kuliao (from Spanish culeado). The dance consists of circular movements with binary rhythms. Participants sing and clap their hands while a man and a woman dance in the middle of the circle.

Comayagua <http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/southamerica/comayagua.shtml>
CIA World Factbook < https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/>
Garifuna <http://spanishdialects-09a.wikispaces.com/African+Influence+on+the+Caribbean>
Lenca <http://spanishdialects-09c.wikispaces.com/The+People+and+Culture+of+Honduras>
Mayan <http://spanishdialects-09b.wikispaces.com/Breaking+the+gender+dichotomy>
Mestizo <http://spanishdialects-09c.wikispaces.com/Gauchos+en+Argentina>
Miskitom <http://spanishdialects-09c.wikispaces.com/Nicaragua>
Punta <http://www.stanford.edu/group/arts/honduras/discovery_eng/art/dance/punta3.html>
San Isidro Fair <http://www.holaceibita.com/hola_ceibita_english/Carnaval/carnival.htm>
San Juancito <http://sanjuancito.com/history.htm>
Tegucigalpa <http://sidewalkmystic.com/tegucigalpa.htmv>