Christmas in Costa Rica

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Christmas and New Year holidays in Costa Rica are for the family and religious. Three are the most characteristic celebrations in the capital: the Mass of the Cock, the fiestas of Zapote and the National Stop in San José.

Since Costa Rica is a Catholic country, many families, after the traditional dinner with roast pork, go to their churches to celebrate the Mass of the Rooster, which is celebrated every year at midnight between the 24th and the 25th of December.

In the celebrations of Zapote the end of year is celebrated and it takes place on the last week of December and the first week of January. Zapote is a district of the San José canton, located to the east of the city, where every year a large bullring is built, the Zapote roundabout, and where the “corrida a la tica” is celebrated.

The main attractions of these parties are the “chinamos” (structures that are built during these popular festivals to sell food and drinks), bars, mechanical games such as roller coasters, or carousels. During the celebration, it is possible to enjoy some typical dishes like rice with chicken, chop suey, fried chicken and tamales.

The National Tope in San José is the last of the celebrations typical of Costa Rican Christmas. ‘Tope’ is a cavalcade, a parade of riders and horses celebrated on December 26. Riders from all over the central valley attend the parade that takes place on the main streets of the capital; people are dressed in jeans, shirts and cowboy hats.

Also in Costa Rica, many are the holiday’s culinary traditions. They usually eat tamales made from corn mass and crushed potatoes. Chicken and pork are added to this mass, and this mixture is poured on a leaf of green banana to make it boil.

By Samuel Diaz