Paraguay’s Bicentennial: May 14, 1811 – May 14, 2011
By Dialogo January 01, 2011
Paraguay celebrates the 200th anniversary of its independence this year. The country gained its independence after breaking its colonial ties with Spain in 1811.
Paraguay is known as the Heart of America because of its central location in South America, bordered by Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia.
The countdown to the bicentennial celebration began in 2009, when the government created a special commission to organize the festivities.
President Fernando Lugo Méndez, whose historic election in April 2008 ended 61 years of Colorado Conservative party rule, sees the bicentennial as an opportunity for Paraguayans to rebuild their country.
“We are trying to found a new generation of Paraguayans … with the proper ethics, cultural and educational characteristics for that nation which our independence heroes dreamed of and which we are still dreaming of today.”
Paraguay is famous for:
Spanish and Guaraní
Ciudad del Este, the second biggest city in the country, is the world’s third-largest tax-free commerce zone
Guinness World Records certified that Paraguay held the world’s largest openair barbecue, consumed over six hours. More than 26,145 kilograms (57,639 pounds) of meat were cooked using the traditional spit-roasted technique, and it was eaten by 50,000 participants
Manioc, a local crop similar to the yucca root, is used in traditional dishes such as chipa, a bagel-like bread also made with cornmeal and cheese. Sopa paraguaya (Paraguayan soup) is a cake, similar to a thick cornbread with cheese, onions and eggs
Guarania is traditional dance music played with the Paraguayan harp. The harp is a 36-string instrument without pedals. This type of Paraguayan polka was created in 1925, combining slow rhythms and melancholy melodies
Soccer is the most popular sport in Paraguay with more than 1,600 teams across the country. The national team has participated in seven World Cups and has won two Copa America tournaments and a silver medal at the Olympic Games