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Holiday season

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A magazine about Costa Rican holidays.
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  • Celebrating Dia de San Jose in Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is officially a Roman Catholic country and many festivals and culture

    events celebrate the religious events of the Catholic faith. The majority of the

    population (approximately 69%) is Roman Catholic.

    March 19th is considered a national holiday celebrating the feast of St. Joseph,

    or Da De San Jose (St.

    Josephs Day). Considered

    a national holiday in Costa

    Rica, many towns who have

    Joseph in their names

    celebrate their namesakes

    day. Specifically in San

    Jose, the capital city of

    Costa Rica, St. Joseph day

    is celebrated with parades,

    dancing and of course great

    food. Towns which carry the

    name of Joseph in their

    names will also host fairs

    and have special masses to

    recognize their patron saint.

    Costa Ricans take to the

    streets often dressed in

    traditional colorful garments

    of white, red and blue.

    Parades include music and

    dancing in the streets.

    The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of San Jos with a procession in the vicinity of the Catedral Metropolitana. Municipal Police officers carry the statue of the saint.

  • Easter Tradition in Costa Rica

    For Ticos in Costa Rica, Semana Santa or Holy Week is

    considered to be the most important religious celebration.

    Beginning with Palm Sunday, most Costa Ricans will take

    vacation from work, banks and government offices will be

    closed and most non-tourist business will definitely be closed

    on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

    For those not taking

    vacation, many will work

    until Wednesday. For

    those lucky to work in

    public positions, they will

    have the week off to

    prepare for Holy week and

    Easter celebrations. This

    year there is a change

    however with the dry law which prohibits the sale of alcohol

    from midnight Wednesday to midnight Saturday. This year

    each municipality is able to decide for itself as to whether they

    will implement the law or not.

    During Semana Santa government offices, including the

    Casa Presidencial and all ministries will be closed for the

    entire week. Banks will close on Thursday and Friday so if you

    This is a great time to see some of the rich culture of

    the area as each province and town holds dramatic

    religious processions and services recreating the last

    days of Jesus life.

  • need some cash, get it before the banks close for the long

    weekend.

    Costa Ricas Passion of Christ Re-Enactment

    And speaking of traditions, there

    are two important processions which

    involve the re-enaction of the

    crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Tres Rios

    in Cartago. With live human

    participation, the event is something

    that cannot be missed if you happen

    to be in Costa Rica at this time. The procession includes

    Roman-like actors who beat Jesus during his journey. The

    dramatization is as much of a statement of what occurred

    brought to life in real times. Many line the streets to participate

    in the re-enactment. Another such event is held in San

    Joaquin de Flores in Heredia and is televised for those who

    dont want to come out to see the procession.

  • Juan Santamara Day

    Juan Santamara Day, held every year in April,

    commemorates the Costa Rican victory in the Battle

    of Rivas in 1856 against the U.S. citizen William

    Walker and his mercenary army.

    After overthrowing the government of Nicaragua,

    Walker began setting his sights on other Central

    American countries in hopes of developing a slave-

    trade empire. The Costa Rican government called

    on its citizens to head to Nicaragua to fight the

    growing threat.

    Juan Santamara, a poor drummer boy now a legend set fire to a hostel

    where a number of Walkers soldiers were staying. The fire led to a heavy loss in

    troops for Walkers army, but also killed

    Santamara in the process. This act of

    heroism, which confirmed Costa Ricas

    sovereignty, will be remembered with

    parades, civic programs and fireworks

    throughout the country on Thursday. Most

    businesses and government offices will be

    closed for the holiday, and parades may block some of the main streets in towns

    and cities throughout the country.

    The countrys primary international airport

    in Alajuela, northwest of San Jos, is named

    after the hero.

  • Julie and Rick in Costa Rica

    Our decision to move to Costa Rica what we worried about,

    how we decided to do it, and how we are going to do it

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    May 01, 2007 - Labor Day, Costa Rica

    Today is Labor Day in Costa

    Rica, and in much of the rest

    of the world as well. So

    strange that it is not celebrated

    today in the USA, since the

    event that marks it *happened*

    in the USA. At any rate, it is a

    big day off for folks here. The

    local swimming pool is the busiest I have seen yet - cars are parked

    even on the side street a block away.

    On Saturday afternoon, we were surprised to hear the local

    cannon/fireworks go off several times, accompanied by a parade of

    *huge* trucks around town. They drove and honked for almost an hour.

    They passed our corner, and we walked to the main street to see how

    far it extended - at least 4 blocks down and back, bumper-to-bumper

    trucks. There were rock haulers, cement trucks, semis (yes! in Costa

    Rica!), and bulldozers. We decided they were celebrating Labor Day

    early. Later, we asked someone about it, and he suggested that it was

    the owner of the stone quarry showing off - he and the owner of a

    similar concern seem to be embroiled in a pissing contest. Either way,

    it was pretty interesting, and attracted quite a crowd.

  • We had planned to have our homestay "parents" over for cafecito

    this afternoon, but they called to say they couldn't make it. We have

    been thinking about how to reciprocate some of the visits we have had

    with others - usually over a meal of some kind. Our kitchen is *very*

    limited, with just enough plates, silverware, and coffee cups for us, and

    no good way to cook rice and beans (you *have* to have rice and

    beans if you invite someone for a meal). Finally, we decided to buy a

    couple more coffee mugs, purchase a selection of pastries, and have

    cafecito at the table outside. We'll see how that works.

    Electricity and water report for Monday - Water was off in the

    morning till 8, and electricity went off at 9 (time enough to get a

    shower). Electricity back on at 11, back off from 3 - 5.

    Weather: got a good downpour on Saturday; Sunday was beautiful -

    sunny and cool; clear most of Monday, with a few sprinkles in the late

    afternoon.

  • The Annexation of Guanacaste

    The Annexation of Guanacaste Day, celebrated on July 25th,

    commemorates the annexation of the province of Guanacaste to Costa

    Rica, which occurred in 1824 - prior to this year, Guanacaste was part

    of Nicaragua. Due to the fact that Nicaragua was active in many civil

    wars at the time, Guanacastes inhabitants requested to be annexed to

    Costa Rica. The Central American Federation approved the

    annexation; hence Guanacaste became a part of Costa Rica.

    The Guanacastecos have always been well identified with Costa

    Rica and take pride in being a part of this country. Proof of this is their

    famous slogan de la patria por nuestra voluntad, which means part of

    this country by our own choice. This annexation by choice celebrates

    Costa Ricas core values of democracy.

    The Guanacaste Day is

    celebrated with a nationwide

    public holiday and bustling

    celebratory activities and

    events, especially in the

    province of Guanacaste. On

    public holidays, all banks,

    government offices, post

    offices and other commercial

    centers close, thus

    evidencing the great

    importance of the

    Guanacaste Day.

  • The Celebration

    The celebration of Guanacastes annexation is comprised by

    parades, folk dances, typical music, cattle shows and more. The

    parades involve children marching to the park at the center of town,

    while wearing masks and dressing up as a variety of personages.

    Bullfights are also typical of the Guanacaste Day celebration.

    However, bullfights in Costa Rica are very different than those in

    Spain. Tico style of bullfighting does not involve killing the animal; its

    all about young unarmed men teasing a bull or cow around a ring for a

    few minutes.

    Guanacastes streets fill out

    with handicrafts and typical

    Costa Rican food like tamales

    and grilled meat with tortillas.

    Concerts, fireworks and folk

    dances are also part of the

    celebration. The most popular

    typical dances that occur

    during this celebration include

    the popular Caballito

    Nicoyano and the Punto

    Guanacasteco. Also involved in the celebration of the annexation of

    Guanacaste is the music of Costa Ricas national instrument, the

    marimba.

  • Feast of the Virgin of Los Angeles On August 2, Costa Rica celebrates a National Holiday. Most regard

    it as the third most important religious holiday in Costa Rica after

    Christmas and Easter. It is the Feast of the Virgin of Los Angeles

    (Virgen de Los Angeles) Day, the patron saint of Costa Rica. The saint

    is also called La Negrita.

    According to the story, on August 2nd 1635, a young mulatto girl,

    whose name was Juana Pereira, found a small statue on a rock and

    took it home, the next

    morning she found the

    statue was back at the

    rock, so she took it to

    the priest who locked

    the statue in a small

    box. The next morning

    the statue was back on

    the rock. Originally the

    basilica was going to be built in an alternative location, but due to

    earthquakes and other problems, it was decided to move the location

    of the church to the location of the rock, as they believed that was

    where the Lady of Los Angeles wanted it built. Because the stone is

    dark in color, the statue is sometimes referred to as La Negrita. It is

    also called Reina de Cartago or Queen of Cartago. The original statue

    is located in the basilica in a golden shell.

    Annually, as many as two million pilgrims

    visit the Baslica de Nuestra Seora de los

    ngeles(Our Lady of the Angels Basilica),

  • on the feast day of the Virgin of the Angels, August 2. This Basilica is

    located in Cartago. Many walk the 10 miles from San Jos and many

    crawl on their hands and knees as a sign of their devotion during the

    annual Romera, which translates to religious pilgrimage.

    The basilica was built in 1639 and was partially destroyed by an

    earthquake. The restored basilica offers an interesting and impressive

    mix of colonial architecture as well as 19th century Byzantine style and

    is consecrated to the Virgin of Seora de los ngeles. This is a small

    statue of the Virgin Mary carrying the infant Jesus

    An official decree declared the Virgin of the Angels the official patron

    of Costa Rica. The pilgrims that come drink the water and wash

    themselves with water from the rock on which the statue was found.

    Additionally people bring small silver medals shaped like body parts,

    which are the ones the pilgrim is concerned about. They leave them in

    front of La Negrita in hopes that they will be cured.

    There is also a museum on the grounds displaying names of

    individuals who were killed in disasters or wars.

  • Mothers Day

    August 15th marked an important holiday for Ticos: Dia de la

    Madre or Mothers Day, based on the Catholic holiday

    celebrating the Assumption of Mary. Matriarchs run the

    household in

    traditional families,

    but on this day many

    are treated to a

    special meal and

    gifts from their

    children and

    husbands.

    In Costa Rica, Mothers Day is a big deal, for it is a national

    holiday as government offices, banks, schools and most

    businesses close for the day, for about the only commercial

    activity is retail stores and malls open to cash in on the gift

    buying and restaurants.

  • Independence Day

    Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica never fought for independence from

    Spain. On September 15th, 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of

    Independence, the authorities in Guatemala declared the independence of all of

    Central America.

    Independence Day in Costa Rica is celebrated with much fun and merriment. The

    national holiday is marked by the hoisting of the national flag, patriotic parades and

    performances by students in the community.

    The fun begins when various schools from communities around the country make

    colorful homemade lanterns, which are lit by candles. The lanterns are lit at 6pm, and

    Costa Ricans join their voices to sing the National Anthem. The students then walk

    through the streets, carrying their lanterns, often accompanied by drums and singing.

    This tradition comes from the night of September 14th, 1821, when delegates from

    Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador met in the Guatemalan Plaza with the purpose

    of joining their voices and saying out loud in unison, Long live liberty, just a few hours

    before the declaration of independence was given in that country. The entire town

    gathered in the City Hall, lighting the place with lamps and lanterns.

    The decorations with lanterns remained for many years in Central American countries

    and in Costa Rica, despite the fact that Costa Ricans had no knowledge of the

    declaration of independence until one month later, when the Independence Torch

    arrived.

    The celebration continues the day after, when the streets are filled with parades, boys

    and girls dancing in traditional clothing, drums, singing, and honor roll students

    carrying Costa Rican flags. It is a very family oriented event, devoid of any military

    overtones, as Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949.

  • What are some special celebrations that you remember in your family and/or

    community during these holidays?

    March 19th

    March 19th

    April 11th

    May 1st

  • July 25th

    August 2nd

    August 15th

    September 15th

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