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Wondering when is a good season to visit Costa Rica? If you are interested in experiencing our culture, our recommendation is to schedule a trip during Easter and the previous weeks. Why? Well, discover why in our blog post today…

Holy Week and Easter, is it the same?

In countries like the US and Canada, Easter is a common celebration that involves the gathering of families, great food, decorated eggs and fun.

In Latin America, these celebrations convey a more religious connotation. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and is the culmination of the Holy Week that covers the previous 7 days starting with Palm Sunday.

Around these celebrations, there are numerous of traditions and activities all over the country that makes this season a great moment to visit Costa Rica, no matter your religion or beliefs.


Traditional celebrations

In the past, Holy Week was a time of recollection, contemplation, sacrifice and repentance. Our grandparents lived a time of fasting and penitence from 40 days before Easter. During the major week, it was forbidden to work, do any housework or even take a bath. All the time was to be dedicated to praying and meditating.

Although times have changed, certain traditions are still maintained that make this week a cultural phenomenon and a special part of the Costa Rican culture.

Costa Rican Culture Easter Cartago

Floral Carpet, Cartago. Image by Bomberos de Costa Rica

The week dresses up with numerous processions, which represent different moments of the life of Christ. Each community devotes a large number of resources so that their processions are great shows. Even in recent years, the hiring of professional actors has come to turn the processions into complex theatrical productions.


Families throughout Costa Rica have dedicated themselves for generations to the organization of the processions, a tradition that passes from generation to generation, and that fills their families with pride.

Costa Rican Culture Colorful Cartago Procesion

Colorful Celebration called Procession of Ribbons. Image by Clarín HD

Other traditions of the Costa Rican culture that are worth enjoying are: floral carpets in the streets, musical band concerts, the procession of ribbons in Cartago.


Other not so traditional mores

Holy week is a public holiday and in addition, this season means the end of the country’s dry season, so it is a great opportunity to take some vacations.  Costa Ricans travel to the numerous beaches throughout the country and the main destinations are full of activities and fun things to do.

Concerts, food specials, water sports, beach activities, and others are part of the agendas you can enjoy during this season.


There is no celebration without food

A culture is not a culture without food.  The gastronomic scene of the Costa Rican Culture changes totally during this season.

As we mentioned before, in the past, this week was a time for fasting and housework were not allowed.  Women, in charge of the family nourishment, had to find ways to produce food in advance that would last the whole week in a time that refrigeration did not exist.  In this way, the production of sweet and salty bread without yeast, and preserved foods either in honey or vinegar, began to be consumed to a great extent. This evolved in delicious dishes such as the Chiverre Empanadas (Chiverre is a type of squash), the rosquillas, bizcochos, tanelas, coconut jelly, chiverre jelly and Cajetas, among others.

Costa Rican Culture Traditional Food

Chiverre empanadas. Image by Nacarina

Also, the church does not allow the consumption of meat during the week and neither the previous 40 Fridays.  So, once again, the recipes required a twist creating new delicious dishes such as the “Tamal mudo”, a traditional corn-based tamal without any filling, or the “Tamal Aliñado” that is filled with refried beans or meatless stews such as the mustard leaves stew and the Chaya Stew. The consumption of fish and seafood is also incremented during this season, especially tuna, salmon and sardines.


Other ingredients that are on season during this week are commonly used in different recipes such as the palm heart, the peach palm and the Itabo Flower.


If you want to feel like a local and immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture during your next visit to Costa Rica, we recommend you to stay in one of our condos, and visit the local communities in search of the processions and the amazing food prepared specially to celebrate the “Semana Santa”.


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