Every town has it’s day. That is on the whole the date of the founding of the town. Piribebuy though does differ from the rule as following the loss of the town archives in the Battle of Piribebuy the date of the battle, 12th August was selected for the annual parade.

Towns in Paraguay do on the whole hold records showing the exact day and the year in which they were founded. This date is the most important one in the local calendar and the whole town shuts down for the day once a year to commemorate the event. Inevitably across the country parades are held throughout the year.

For the local school children it is the most important day of the school year. Everyone from nursery school children to collage students take part and look forward to doing so. For several weeks before the parade in Piribebuy I can hear the sound of drums as the children are drilled until their marching is perfect. The town is several miles away beyond a couple of lines of hills but in the still air the sound is quite clear.

It is also a day for dressing up smartly. Uniforms for the drummers and for the stick twirling majorettes, clothes that are worn but once a year and smart school uniforms for everyone else. Every pupil of every school and collage takes part in the parade, marching through the center of town in close formation with their classmates.

With so many to file pass a town parade takes several hours, starting mid morning and then not concluding until early afternoon. All the time the pavements are full with townsfolk out to proudly watch friends and family slowly file past of just out to enjoy the parade. All day long sellers with food, drink, balloons and small toys work the crowds.

As everyone has to be collected together by their teachers before anything can begin it is the smaller children who start off the procession. It would hardly be fair to expect them to wait several hours for their turn to parade. That is for the collage students who always follow on after all the schools have filled past.

In addition to the neatly drilled marching blocks of school children there are always a few other items included in the parade. Here in Piribebuy they take the form of children dressed to represent the soldiers and wounded civilians of the Battle of Piribebuy and some in traditional Paraguayan dress. Also their are floats representing farming and the like and a place of honour for the winner of the town beauty pageant.

Once the children have all paraded by and enjoyed their time in the limelight dressed in their finery some of the services follow on. The firemen and ambulance men always have a place in the parade and some years they are joined by units from the nearby army base.

Then by mid afternoon last of the drums falls silent and the spectators drift away. The younger children head home happy and exhausted and the older ones head off to a party in the main football stadium. All are pleased to have had their chance to parade through the town and everyone who will still be in education the following year looks forward to repeating the whole thing all over again.