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The modern history of Costa Rica is recent but it still has a very rich culture with many celebrations throughout the year.

Costa Rica is the meeting point of two great ancient cultures in America. The north of the country was influenced by the Mayan Empire as it was located on the south border of this empire and by the Spanish conquistadors who arrived in the sixteenth century. In contrast, the central and south have been influenced by the Chibcha. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica was colonised by African slaves. At the same time, thousands of Chinese families arrived in Costa Rica to work on the railroads. All of these influences have developed the extremely varied ethnicity of the country.

Festivals and celebrations in Costa Rica:

fete-de la viergeAugust 2: Feast of the Virgin of Los Angeles

According to the legend, on August 2, 1635 a young native who went to the river to wash her clothes (or to collect firewood, depending on the version) found on her path, a small effigy of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms.

In Cartago, you can see the legendary doll Juana Pereira that is at the origin of this feast.

fete-independanceSeptember 15: Independence Day

In 1821, Costa Rica becomes an independent country. The national Day: September 15 is a holy day for all Costa Ricans. The celebration starts on September 14 with the traditional parade of torches.

Throughout the country, it is one of the most important holidays since it celebrates the country's independence over the Spanish colonizer. But you will also learn that it is not quite on September 15 that Costa Rica gained its freedom!

carnaval limonOctober

For 8 to 10 days, depending on the year, the Carnival of Limón takes place on the occasion of the celebration of the « Día de las Culturas ». It takes place in the city of Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast, for this occasion Puerto Limón is transformed into Costa Rican party capital.

During this Carnival, the Afro-Caribbean culture is the main entertainment. It's a unique opportunity to participate in a festival high in colour and music.

fete dias de las culturasOctober 12

The celebration of October 12, commonly called the "Día de la Raza" (Day of the Race), is of Spanish origin and is still widely celebrated throughout Latin America. It was initially celebrated for the discovery of America by C. Columbus.

Today, it commemorates the multiculturalism of Costa Rica.

fete santos y boyerosEnd of november

"Desfile de Santos y Boyeros," which can be translated as "Parade of  Saints and Bouviers' (bouvrier designating the leader of an oxcart) is a recent yet important tradition. It is a unique opportunity to celebrate in the heart of the Costa Rican capital: San Jose. It is also the opportunity to celebrate with all the inhabitants of all the provinces, and to honour the oxcart, which became the national symbol in 1988. Each year in San José, the « Desfile de Santos y Boyeros », a parade of traditional oxcarts, takes place in a very festive environment during the last week-end of November.

fete yeguitaDecember 12

Every, year, on December 12, in the town of Nicoya (Guanacaste province), the fiesta of Yegüita or "festival of the little mare" is celebrated in honour of Our Lady of Guadeloupe.

The Fiesta de la Yegüita is a festival of indigenous origins but modified by the Spanish. It's to celebrate « Our Lady of Guadeloupe » in a festive procession during the celebration day of Virgin of Guadeloupe.

fete 15ansThe Quinceañera, the feast of 15 years

The celebration of 15 years old is a tradition deeply rooted in Mexico and the Latin American countries, (fiesta de los quince años). Also called the 15 spring, the Quinceañeras, or just « the 15 », it is a celebration that meant to symbolize the passage of adolescence to womanhood of a girl who turns 15.

Celebration of the transition from childhood to adulthood for young girls.


Museums of Costa Rica :

museo nationalMuseo Nacional de Costa Rica

City: San José, the National Museum of Costa Rica has an amazing collection of artefacts tracing the history of Costa Rica and showcases its rich culture. It is a « must-visit »!

Official website of the museum

museo del banco centralMuseo del Banco Central

City: San Jose, Double museum composed of the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (collection of gold objects and pottery) and the Coin Museum (collection of 1,700 banknotes). You only need to pay the entrance for one of the museum to have access to both of them.

Official website of the museum

museo del jadeMuseo del Jade

City: San José, relive the pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica through the collection of over 7,000 objects from the Museum of Jade. Combining the past and the future, the museum also features works of Costa Rican contemporary artists.

Official website of the museum