Monday, March 21, 2016

Semana Santa Costa Rica

This week is Semana Santa in Costa Rica or Easter Holy Week.

It is a holiday week in Costa Rica with many Costa Ricans taking the entire week off and many businesses shut for much of the week.

Thursday and Friday are official public holidays.

The main religion in Costa Rica is Catholicism and there are religious parades throughout the country on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.Each procession is a dramatic reenactment of Jesus’ journey through Jerusalem to his crucifixion and resurrection. They are a very serious events, and spectators line the streets to mourn and pray.

At family gatherings during Semana Santa special meals are prepared and seafood is traditionally eaten.

Delicious dishes  such as rice and shrimp, ceviche and fried fish are prepared.  Various desserts such as empanadas, pudding and jelly are all made from chiverre, a big squash that looks like a watermelon and is in season during this time. The flesh is cooked with brown sugar blocks.

Those Costa Rican’s not celebrating religious traditions spend the week at the beach. Hotels and accommodation are booked up months in advance and the beaches and roads to them can be very overcrowded whist San Jose and other urban areas are deserted.

During Holy Week, a Dry Law is in place, meaning that at midnight on Wednesday all bars and liquor stores close.  However many locals stock up on liquor and beer for the upcoming weekend.  At the beach it is possible to find a clandestine bar open, but no alcohol can be officially served anywhere in the city.

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