Holiday Spirit in Costa Rica


With Halloween having just passed, this time of year conjures up ideas of Holidays.  Costa Rica does like to celebrate its holidays.  Since it is a Catholic country, many of its traditions and holiday festivities are rooted in Christian celebration and rememberance days.  Easter is an especially colorful and joyous national day of celebration.  But there are also many other local events that take place during the year throughout the various regions of Costa Rica to celebrate Patron Saints or important national events.   


Outlined are the main Holidays that take place throughout the year in Costa Rica:

January 1:  New Year’s Day – Revelers who were partying in the clubs the night before gather in San José's Parque Central and Buenos Aires, and Puntarenas to continue the festivities at dances.

March 19:  St. Joseph’s Day – Patron Saint of San Jose and San Jose province.

Easter:  Semana Santa – Holy Week is observed with religious processions and masses. The official holiday falls on the Thursday and Friday before Easter Sunday.  Public transportation does not run on these two days and is extremely crowded the whole week.

April 11:  Juan Santamaria Day – Public holiday to commemorate the national hero who fought at the battle of Rivas against the American invader William Walker in 1856.

May 1:  Labor Day – Dia de los Trabajadores.

June:  Corpus Christi

June 29:  St. Peter and St. Paul’s Day

July 16: Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar – The Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea on the Saturday closest to the 16th is marked in Puntarenas by a procession of decorated fishing boats carrying a statue of La Virgen del Monte Carmelo (the city's patron saint) and a special mass.

July 25:  Guanacaste Day – To mark the annexation of Guanacaste from Nicaragua in 1824.

August 2:  Virgin de los Angeles Day – Patron Saint of Costa Rica. Special masses and a religious procession from San José to La Basilica de Cartago. Pilgrims come from all over the country, many on foot to celebrate the mass at Cartago.

August 15:  Mother’s Day and Assumption Day

September 15:  Independence Day – Costa Rica gained independence from Spain on the same day as the rest of Central America in 1821. The nationwide celebration starts with parades, traditional dancers, and street parties and culminates with the arrival of the Freedom Torch in Cartago (delivered from Nicaragua by relay runners) when everyone in the country stops and simultaneously sings the national anthem. Children later enjoy faroles parades where they carry small lanterns through their towns.

October 12:  Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day). Limon province only, marked by carnival, which take place in the week prior to October 12. Caps off several days of Carnival on the Caribbean coast.

November 2:  All Soul’s Day – Involves Costa Rica residents' pilgrimages to graveyards

December 8:  Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.

December 25:  Christmas Day. Family-oriented celebrations and mass. Much consumption of apples and grapes.  The week of Christmas is a very popular time for Ticos to head to the beach.

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