Dear Friends and family,
As a kid I remember asking my mom why we didn’t get a ‘Kid’s Day’ since they had ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘Father’s Day’? Her response to me was “well Connie, it is because every day is kid’s day!” Needless to say, upon arriving in Paraguay, we thought it was ‘pretty cool’ when we learned that the Paraguayans had a special day set-aside for the children - a very special time throughout the nation where the children are honored with parties, gifts, and joy. It was not until this year that we learned the ‘real reason’ behind the holiday and then we were speechless.
Back in the 1800’s there was war called the Triple Alliance War, where three nations – Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil – all came against Paraguay, determined to destroy her and take all of her land and resources. The war was so bloody, that almost all of the Paraguayan men were killed. As the armies marched into the land, they killed everyone in their path.
It was then that the women and children rose up, determined to also fight. Their last ditch effort was to dress boys and girls like soldiers, painting beards on their faces and placing wooden guns in their hands. The army of ‘make believe soldiers’ met their enemies, and needless to say, thousands of children died.
When the enemy looked upon the battlefield covered with the bodies of the children, they decided that they had destroyed the Nation of Paraguay, and turned around and marched back home without continuing their siege of the rest of the nation. Out of the chaos and defeat of the war, the remaining women, children and wounded men of Paraguay rose up, refusing to be further defeated. Even though their invaders took much of the land of Paraguay, they were unable to completely eliminate the brave and proud people.
‘In Paraguay, Children's Day is celebrated on August 16, day of the infamous Battle of Acosta Ñu, where 20,000 men of the Brazilian Army crushed a Paraguayan battle made up of 3,500 children ages six to fifteen - even though Paraguay had been already completely defeated. Children's Day is a national holiday, used to remember the atrocities the Brazilians committed during the five-year war.’ (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Here are a few pictures of the celebration at the church:
It is our prayer that we may raise up ‘spiritual soldiers’ that are just as brave and courageous in this modern day Paraguay.
Jerry and Connie