This celebration is to be witnessed in order to grasp its real sense. Who was Güemes?
Why have the people of Salta loved him so much for so long? Who were and still are his gauchos? We stayed at the right place to understand this beautiful story of everlasting love and loyalty.
Every year on June 17th, the City of Salta dresses up for a celebration that pays tribute to the most remarkable citizens.
They are none others than the gauchos of Güemes and the memory of their beloved commander, Martín Miguel de Güemes.
He was a true national hero born on February 8th, 1785. His decision to keep on fighting for the then fragile national independence was so firm that it is thanks to him and his men that today we can see our national flag fluttering in the sky.
The night before the parade, stokers assemble for an all-night vigil just right at his great monument.
There, at the foot of San Bernardo Hill, the followers of this military leader gather during a cold night in Salta to start the ritual of the bonfires which, year after year, appeals more enthusiasts from all the corners of the country.
There, the bonfires are lit and everyone anxiously expects the rising sun to cram the streets and demonstrate their support in front of the main stage.
The spirit of his men is evident in the celebrations, where men, women and children wearing black and red outfits feel the homage as their own.
The culmination of the parade comes when participants of several formations and forces -wearing their corresponding outfits and bearing their weapons- get to the main stand, where different national and provincial authorities expect their patriotic salute.
Although there are gauchos from all around our country, most of them come from Northern Argentina and especially from all the corners of the Province of Salta.
The Lady of Miracles is carried on a special cart to be worshiped along the parade route by every attendant. Several local schools, including kindergarten with their little children and teachers are also present in this event.
On several occasions, the Argentinian President and some of his ministers along with some notable foreign people have attended the parade and the main performance.
For some years, people from Salta and Northern Argentina have been fighting for this date to be declared a National Holiday, which would be a fair decision.
An unforgettable party blending the light blue and white hues of our flag and the red and black colors of this real national hero, to whom the whole people of Salta pay tribute every year on June 17th.
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